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.
Recipe courtesy of Robert Irvine