For the fritters: In heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil and cook the bacon, onions, and celery until golden brown, and stir throughout the cooking with a wooden spoon.
Turn the heat to low and slowly stir in the thyme, garlic, and lemon juice
. Continue to cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Add half the beans and smash with a masher or fork until semi-smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the remaining beans and blend
well with a spoon. Stir in the parsley
, baking powder, flour, egg, cheese
, and some salt and pepper. The mixture should be moist to the touch, not watery. You can add more flour if the mixture looks runny, just stir in a little bit at a time until it thickens. Place the fritter
mixture in the refrigerator to chill.
Pour the oil into a cast iron skillet or deep saute pan, filling the pan 1/4-inch up the sides. Bring the oil to 350 degrees F (use an oil thermometer).
For the topping, stir a few shakes of hot sauce
into the mayonnaise. Taste it. You want some heat, but not too spicy.
In a bowl, whisk
together the cornmeal
and flour. Remove the batter
from the fridge.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of the batter into the cornmeal-flour mixture and roll it around to coat. Carefully drop into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Turn the fritters as you're cooking them to cover them carefully with oil. Cook a few fritters at a time but don't crowd the pan.
Remove the cooked fritters to paper towels to drain
. Serve them hot with a bit of spicy mayo on top. Garnish with chopped chives.