Friday, September 11, 2020

Baking Class: Skillet Cornbread with Fresh Corn

There are two camps when it comes to cornbread. There is the soft, cake like version of the north that mixes flour with cornmeal and adds sugar, and there is the southern version with no flour and no sugar. One look at these photos should tell you into which camp I fall. While I have had some versions of the northern style that are quite delicious, none come close to this 100% cornmeal no sugar cast iron skillet cornbread.

I found this recipe in a cooking newsgroup that has been around since the early days of the worldwide web and it is a keeper. You put whatever fat you are using into a cast iron skillet and let it heat up in the pre-heating oven. When it is smoking hot you add the batter. That is the secret to getting a nice, crispy crust. And the lack of sugar gives it a more intense corn flavor. The texture is coarse but when done right it is soft and bursting with full corn flavor, especially with the additional fresh Smits Farm corn I added to the batter. You have to look hard to see the kernels in there but every single bite just pops with that sweet corn flavor. I’m enjoying just eating it for breakfast but it is spectacularly good for sopping up a mess of beans.

I use coarse cornmeal for this recipe. I am sure it would be quite lovely with the finer grind as well.

Home Cookin 9.81 Chapter: Breads and Muffins
Makes 6 large or 8 small pieces
1 Tbsp lard, bacon grease or grapeseed oil
2 cups cornmeal (preferably yellow)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup fresh cut or frozen corn kernels
2 cups buttermilk
1 egg, well beaten

Put the fat in the skillet and place the skillet in the middle rack of the cool oven. Turn the oven on to 450° F and let the pan heat up while you mix the rest of the ingredients.

Combine the cornmeal, salt and baking soda in a large bowl and mix well. Beat the egg and add it to the buttermilk.

When the oven is up to temperature add the fresh corn and then the buttermilk and egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together quickly. Pull the skillet out of the oven just long enough to quickly pour the batter into it and return it to the middle shelf.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

adapted from a recipe found on the newsgroup (which has deteriorated into a bunch of old posters who constantly argue with and snipe at each other and rarely talk about cooking anymore)

Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

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