New Orleans Seafood Cookbook
by Ralph Brennan
A New Year's Day feast in New Orleans often centers around blackeyed peas, eaten to bring luck during the coming 12 months. This well seasoned, spicy hot and colorful cornbread would be a great accompaniment to the peas, as well as many other Southern-style dishes. The flavor is deliciously enhanced by the addition of fresh corn to the batter.
For one 9-inch round loaf or 6 to 8 servings
Note: The cornbread may be prepared up to three hours ahead and kept uncovered at room temperature.
• 2 ears sweet corn in the husk, each 8 to 9 inches long
• 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut in 1/4-inch cubes, plus butter or bacon fat to grease the baking pan
• 1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup finely sliced green onions, green parts only
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh jalapenos with seeds, or more to taste*
• 2 yolks from large eggs
• 1 cup whole milk
* If your jalapenos are fairly mild, use 3 tablespoons minced, being sure to include the seeds, which contain much of the heat of the peppers.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Soak the ears of corn in the husk in a pan of water for 30 minutes. Drain and bake uncovered on a baking sheet until corn is just cooked, about 35 minutes. Let the corn cool, then strip off the husks and silk, and cut the kernels from the ears. You should have about 1 1/4 cups.
3. Increase the oven setting to 400°F.
4. Generously butter or grease a 9-inch glass or metal pie pan and set it aside.
5. In a large mixing bowl thoroughly combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, kosher salt and baking powder. Add the reserved corn kernels, and the green onions and jalapenos, mixing well.
6. Add the butter cubes and egg yolks, mixing well with your hands until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the milk, mixing just until large lumps are broken up and the milk is blended in. Do not over-mix.
7. Spoon the batter into the prepared pie pan and smooth the top with the back of the spoon. Tap the pan solidly on a counter three or four times to expel air bubbles.
8. Bake the cornbread until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the thickest part comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on whether your pan is glass or metal. Remove from oven and let sit 30 minutes before cutting into wedges for serving.
Serving Suggestion: If prepared in advance, reheat in a microwave oven or covered in a conventional oven.