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Monday, August 1, 2011

Gluten Free Monday Night Cornbread...

Cornbread is gluten free, naturally. Did you know that? I didn't for years. I thought that cornbread had to be a blend of wheat flour and that the corn meal was there merely as an accessory to the wheat. Well, the truth is cornbread can be made solely with corn meal! I was enlightened one evening a year or more back when Alton Brown on the food network made a cornbread this way.
My recipe is inspiration from his. And its so easy, easy enough that it can be a Monday night side dish to whatever you have going on. It doesn't even take a mixer, just your grandmothers wooden spoon and a bowl. If you have all the ingredients in the pantry (and you should), it takes literally 6 minutes to combine, then it bakes for 20 while you prepare anything else you are having.
The corn meal gives the cornbread an incredible corn flavor that is very pronounced. The corm meal alone lends a crumbly chewiness to the bread, while some of the corn meal bits have a satisfying crunch. The corn kernels in the cornbread offer a sweet pop as you enjoy it dripping (or lightly) buttered. The bottom is golden and crisp with that chewy browned goodness you only get from a cast iron skillet (more on that in a minute).
Here is the recipe:

• 2 cups yellow cornmeal
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 cup buttermilk (if you don't have, use milk)
• 2 eggs
• 1 can creamed corn. Or use kernel corn-drained.
• 4 tablespoons oil (olive or canola), divided
• 1 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet into the oven to heat. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, 2 tbs oil, eggs, and corn, whisking together to combine. Then add the cornmeal, salt, pepper, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda and stir to combine.
Open the oven and bring the hot cast iron skillet out and place on top of stove. Add 2 tbs oil to the hot cast iron skillet. Immediately pour the batter into the skillet. Immediately return to the oven and bake until the cornbread is golden brown and springs back in the center upon the touch, about 20 minutes.

About cast iron skillets: invest in one. Nothing makes a perfectly charred, golden, brown crust better then a cast iron skillet—on everything. From asparagus to steak to chicken breast, the cast iron skillet cannot compare to any other cooking vessel. It goes from stove top to oven, is naturally non-stick once seasoned, and makes the best crusts on the underside of corn bread.

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