Serves: Makes 8 servings
- 1¼ cups yellow cornmeal
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- ⅛ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons flavorless vegetable oil
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons coarsely shredded smoked mozzarella or Gouda cheese
- ¼ cup minced smoked ham (optional)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped olive oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
Procedures:There are many tempting flavor possibilities when it comes to corn bread. For this version, smoked mozzarella or Gouda is substituted for the more traditional Cheddar or Monterey Jack. The addition of buttermilk gives the bread a tender crumb and a slight tang, the dried tomatoes add a salty edge, and the corn kernels reinforce the taste of the yellow cornmeal. Fresh corn is preferred, although canned or thawed frozen kernels can be used.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over low heat on the stove top and leave it to heat while preparing the batter for the corn bread.
In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and black pepper, and stir with a standard whisk to mix. In a second large bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and ¼ cup of the oil until blended. Stir into this second bowl the corn, ½ cup of the cheese, the ham, the tomatoes, and the parsley.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula just until blended.
Drizzle the heated skillet with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, tilting the pan to coat evenly. Immediately add the batter (the oil will sizzle and bubble up around the edges to coat the sides of the skillet), and spread it to the edges of the skillet, using a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden and the edges have pulled away from the sides of the skillet. Serve hot or at room temperature, cut into wedges.