A couple years ago, I received The Cornbread Gospels cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon in the mail, a gift from the author herself. Pretty cool, right? I haven't made much cornbread in those two years, admittedly neglecting this informative cookbook, but recently someone posted a link to a recipe for a cornbread-based dressing, featuring eggplant and shrimp. I was intrigued, and I will be making and posting that recipe shortly. In the meantime, I needed to make some cornbread on which to base the dressing!
Out of the hundreds of cornbread recipes in the "Gospels," I chose this one. For reasons I can't explain, other than it looked pretty simple and I had all the ingredients.
Upon mixing up the batter, the consistency had me a bit worried, it seemed very thin. I needn't have worried, the cornbread baked up perfectly. It's a delicious cornbread with a lovely crumb, however I'm going to show my decidedly Northern roots when I say that this "Southern" cornbread needs just a bit of sugar for my taste, if I were eating it plain. Luckily I'm mixing it into that other recipe, so the lack of sugar is just fine.
Make this if you're in the mood for a true Southern, healthy cornbread. I have to admit, the more cornbread I ate, the more I liked it...let me know what YOU think!
Sylvia's Ozark Cornbread
Makes 8 wedges
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk, preferably measured into a 4-cup measure
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Spray a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with oil, add the butter, and put it into the oven to heat. Meanwhile, stir together the cornmeal, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
In a smaller bowl, or in the 4-cup measure, beat the buttermilk with the eggs and oil.
Combine the two mixtures. As always, be careful not to overbeat, stirring until wet and dry are just combined.
Scrape the batter into the hot skillet and bake the cornbread until it is golden brown and crusty at the edges, 23 to 27 minutes. Serve hot, in wedges.