Monday, March 23, 2009

124. Skillet Corn Bread (p. 600)

A while ago, I made a huge batch of Black Bean Chili. It was OK, but I really didn't like it. The thing is, I made so much of it, that I had bags and bags of it in the freezer, just waiting to be eaten. I figured that it needed "something," and I though that this recipe for corn bread would be the something to complement the chili and make it sing. Oh, well.

I really love corn bread. So, I had been looking forward to making this corn bread ever since I got The Book. As a matter of fact, this recipe is the reason I asked for cast iron pans for Christmas. Apparently, this corn bread has to be made in a cast iron skillet, since The Book says that a non-stick pan will produce "anemic-looking, soft corn bread." Ick!

First, I put my empty cast iron skillet in the oven to pre-heat. Meanwhile, I mixed together some stone-ground cornmeal, sugar, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, I whisked together some buttermilk and eggs. Then, I took the heated skillet out of the oven and put some softened butter in it. As I swirled it around, the butter sizzled and melted. I poured the melted butter into the egg and buttermilk mixture. Finally, I added the cornmeal mixture. Then I poured the batter into the hot skillet. The Book says to "scrape" the batter into the skillet. This seemed curious to me, since my batter was very liquidy, so there was no "scraping" at all. Did I do something wrong here? I put the skillet in the oven to bake for a while. It puffed up and browned very nicely, as you can see from the picture.

After I let the corn bread cool, I cut myself a nice slice and anxiously took a bite. How was it. Not that great, I'm sorry to say. First, it wasn't fully cooked in the middle. That may have been my fault because The Book says to use a nine-inch pan, and I used an eight-inch one, so my bread was thicker than what the recipe intended. But then there wast the flavor and texture. It was kind of oddly eggy and spongy. I though that it was strange that there was no flour at all in this recipe. Maybe this recipe is more "authentic," but every other recipe I've ever made for cornbread calls for at least a little flour. I also found the flavor to be a little bland. The recipe calls for only a half-teaspoon of salt. I think that it could have used more give the rest of the flavors more sparkle. The crust, however, was quite good. Buttery and crisp. I know that I'll make skillet cornbread againt, just not using this recipe.

I feel bad that the past couple of posts have been negative. Don't think for a moment that I'm losing any of my affection for The Book. Far from it. In the nine months since I started The Project, I've eaten so many wonderful things, and I've learned so much and gained so much more confidence as a cook. But, with more than 1,300 recipes in The Book, they can't all be my favorites. Stay tuned for my next post, which is one of my favories so far.

Date Cooked: March 8, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Rating: C+

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