Biscuits, cornbread, tortillas, garlic bread…we all have that favorite starch to stretch a meal just a little farther. The additions that finish off a meal and make it feel a bit more comforting. Growing up my mom always told me about my Great Grandmother Nellie. She believed that you had to have the fixings for cornbread in your pantry at all times. You never knew when an unexpected guest would stop by or when you didn’t quite have enough soup to feed the family. This story stuck with me and even in college I had the fixings to make cornbread.
Cornbread is a blank canvas that can be transformed into the prefect accessory for each meal. Swap out yellow corn meal for blue corn meal for not only a visually appealing side dish but an earthy, coarser cornbread. Increase the subtle sweetness by adding fresh corn nibs to the batter. Cornbread shines with a little bit of heat such as pickled jalapenos, green chiles, or just your favorite hot sauce. Add depth with grated cheddar or montery jack cheese. Fresh parsley, cilantro, or chives add zest. I love cornbread for its versatility and its ease in preparation. It takes no time to whip up. If you pop in for dinner be prepared for a side of cornbread with the conversation.
6 T melted unsalted butter
1 c cornmeal
3/4 c flour
1 T sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 t cracked black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 c milk
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly butter an 8 inch baking dish
In a large bowl mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add the melted butter.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The batter will be slightly lumpy but you do not want dry spots. Be careful not to over mix. Pour into the prepared dish.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes prior to serving.
If you ever have leftover cornbread, it makes great croutons. Just cut into bite size pieces. Toss with enough olive oil to lightly cover. Add any seasonings you would like, such as salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, fennel powder, etc. Spread onto a baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes or until croutons are golden brown. Let cool and enjoy on salads or soups.