Better Cornbread

On a whim, I bought a cast iron oyster pan from Sur La Table. Well, actually from Amazon. I like barbequed oysters a LOT.

The heavy buggah arrived the day after I made a too-large pot of salmon and clam whatchagot chowder, effectively cleaning out all the slowly composting leftovers in the refrigerator (too late for a lot of stuff, but just in time otherwise). The unlikely combination of the carcass of a hefty whole Alaskan sockeye salmon for the stock and meat (I cooked the filets for a dinner with CoveSurfer and his much more charming wife a few nights before), a container of frozen chopped clams, pureed parsnips, pan-roasted corn off the cob, some yellowed broccoli, some wrinkly russet potatoes, and heavy cream that was turning to creme-not-so-Fraiche turned out to be amazing, but needed a hearty companion. The biscuits I made the first night weren’t quite up to the match. So I made cornbread in my new Oyster pan. Awesome. So awesome that it’s been my lunch and sometimes dinner for the four days Diane has been gone on a ladies’ golf trip. Yes, I revert to a grubby bachelor as soon as her car leaves the garage.

The cornbread I made was just a basic guess that White Lilly flour might make great cornbread for the same reason it makes great baking powder biscuits–it’s the right kind of flour for this application. Since I’ve never seen a recipe for cornbread with White Lilly self-rising flour I just made it up on the fly. Absolutely amazing, on the first try.

1 cup White Lilly self-rising four

a little extra baking powder–probably 1/2 tsp.

1 cup cornmeal

1 Tbs sugar

2 Tbs oil (I used EVOO)

hefty pinch of salt

1 egg

heavy cream to make a pourable batter

Stupidly simple–mix everything together, add enough heavy cream to make a batter you can pour into whatever pan you choose to use. I lubed the oyster pan lightly with olive oil and poured in the batter to within 1/2″ of the top. Put it in an unheated oven set to 400 and fired it up. I have no idea how long it took, I just checked every few minutes until I saw the golden brown color I wanted. It’s easier to extract the sticks from the pan if you let it cool a bit after pulling the pan from the oven. The pan will be hot as blazes and will stay that way for a long time, so a trivet or just setting it on the stove is necessary. No, I didn’t wait for it to cool to eat the first six–I don’t have that kind of discipline. I rarely let steak rest as long as I know I should either.

The cornbread is light, with a great texture. Rises to fill the pan with a nice smooth dome. Crisp on the edges, delicious with a dab of butter. I ate half the sticks with a bowl of chowder, and half of them later for dessert with some local honey drizzled on them. Yes, I ate 12 cornbread sticks. By myself. Like an animal. This is, by a long, long margin, the best cornbread I’ve ever had.

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