[Photograph: Molly Sheridan]
Note: There is perhaps no recipe I’ve investigated that is as simple and yet as fraught with passionate argument regarding the “correct” way to make it as cornbread. Adding to this battle is not my purpose here. I’ve provided a simple recipe that suits my preferences, but the point is to highlight the great taste provided by freshly milled cornmeal.
If you haven’t already invested in a grain mill (there are many types, from hand crank to KitchenAid attachment to sophisticated powered appliances), Vitamix benders are also powerful enough to grind dried corn into a beautiful yellow cornmeal.
Read more: DIY Cornmeal from Popcorn
- Yield:serves 8
- Total time:45 minutes
- 9 ounces of popcorn, ground into meal in a blender or mill (alternatively, use 1 1/2 cups store-bought cornmeal)
- 5 ounces (1 cup) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 2 cups (16 ounces) buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons shortening, bacon drippings, or neutral oil such as canola or vegetable oil.
Place 10-inch cast iron skillet in oven on middle rack and heat to 450°F. Meanwhile, whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl until evenly incorporated. In a medium bowl, lightly beat egg. Whisk in buttermilk.
As oven nears 450°F, remove skillet and add fat. Return to oven for a few minutes, allowing fat to heat until shimmering. Remove and swirl fat to evenly coat the bottom.
Add egg and buttermilk mixture plus any excess melted fat from skillet to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Mixture will be lumpy. Pour batter into hot skillet and return to oven, bake until top is just golden and edges have browned and pulled away from the side of the pan, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm.