Blue cornmeal makes a delicious, exotic cornbread. Ground from whole blue heritage flint corn, the variety is a gorgeous blue-purple color with a sweet, nutty corn flavor. It's also higher in protein and antioxidants than the more familiar yellow and white varieties, and the grind is a little coarser so it gives the cornbread more texture.
Blue cornmeal is perfect for this simple flourless recipe that showcases the unique taste of cornmeal. The cornbread has a light, sweet, crisp, buttery crust thanks to a cast-iron skillet. The heavy, heat-retaining material gives the crust its dark color and plenty of crunch. But any large ovenproof skillet will work, too. Please don't forget to brown the butter for an extra note of nuttiness.
Pouring the batter into the hot pan sears it on contact, ensuring that the edges get brown and crispy. The extra amount of butter gives the cornbread its soft, moist center. Just be careful and pay attention when melting the butter so it browns and doesn't burn. You can certainly jazz up this easy recipe by adding chopped jalapeños and red bell peppers, shredded Cheddar cheese and minced herbs. Here, we've mixed frozen corn kernels into the batter and baked them on top for color and contrast.
Blue CornbreadServes 10 to 12.
Blue cornmeal gives this cornbread its haunting corn flavor and lavender hue, but yellow or white cornmeal will work equally well. Find blue cornmeal in food co-ops or from online retailers. Store in the refrigerator or freeze. From Beth Dooley.
• 12 tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
• 1/3 c. honey or maple syrup
• 2 1/4 c. buttermilk
• 3 eggs
• 3 1/2 c. blue, yellow or white cornmeal
• 1 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
• 1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1 c. corn kernels (thawed if frozen), divided
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In an 11- or 12-inch ovenproof skillet (cast iron preferred), melt the butter over medium heat, swirling to lightly coat the sides of the pan. When the foam subsides and the butter begins to turn brown, remove it from the stove and pour into a large bowl.
In the same bowl as the butter, whisk in honey, buttermilk and eggs, then whisk in the cornmeal, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Stir in 1/2 cup of corn kernels.
Reheat the pan on the stove for a few minutes. Pour the batter into the pan, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of corn over the batter. Place in the oven and bake until the top is darkened and split and a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean, about 30 to 40 minutes.