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Food Pr0n: Skillet Blue Cornbread

Posted Feb 20 2010 7:46pm

When I first went off to college my mother had the smarts to send the Woman’s Day Cookbook with me. I know if seems old-fahsioned, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sourced this book. Just take a look at my worn and warped copy

She's all beat up, but that's how you spot a good cookbook

The Woman’s Day Cookbook was indispensable in my early years cooking for myself. Over the years as I have gained confidence in the kitchen I still come back to this book for reliable and simple recipes.

About 10 years ago I decided to find a recipe for real southern cornbread. Not that sugary Yankee cake that most people try to pass off, but the salty and spicy stuff I remember from childhood. Let me be clear: I LOATHE SUGAR IN CORNBREAD. It invokes in me a white-hot disgust so intense it rips a hole in space time. The original recipe that mine is adapted from called for sugar, so I just took that out completely and doubled the amount of salt. Done and done. I also use an entire 11 ounce can of corn in place of the 1 cup of corn the original recipe called for, mostly because I’m lazy and it’s easy to dump in the can. I have tried it with fresh and frozen corn and it makes no difference at all. I also reduced the jalapeño by one, but if you love heat go to town with three. Lastly, I started using blue cornmeal because I like the color. It doesn’t taste any different to me and it makes me grin. Blue bread. So weird.

I highly recommend using a cast iron skillet if you have one. Not only does it create a satisfying crisp exterior to the cornbread, but it makes me feel so Southern. The resulting cornbread is just how I like it. Crispy on the outside with a moist crumb inside, and enough sweetness from the corn so that extra sugar is unnecessary. With a little pat of butter melting on top, this bread is irresistible. Pair it with quick chili for a comforting winter meal.

adapted from The Woman’s Day Cookbook
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

1 1/2 cups cornmeal (yellow or blue, both work)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1- 11 ounce can of corn, drained
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped

Prep work: drain the corn, seed and chop the jalapeños

  1. Place a 9- or 10-inch cast iron skillet (or oven-proof skillet) in the oven and heat to 400 ° F.
  2. In a large bowl mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and soda, and the salt. Stir until well combined.
  3. Add the buttermilk, corn, vegetable oil and the jalapeños and stir until blended.
  4. Remove the hot skillet and lightly spray it with cooking spray. It will smoke a little. Pour in the batter and give the skillet a little shake to even it out. Sizzle!
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the skillet, cut into wedges and top with a pat of butter.

Last time I made this my boyfriend stored the leftovers in this 1 quart container. I thought it looked like something you would see at Alinea or Moto , all molecular gastronomy-like , so I took a picture. Weirder!

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