This qualifies as more of a Southwestern American version of cornbread than a Mexican one, but it does embody some of the typical flavors of Mexican food—namely jalapeños, scallions, and cilantro. The cornbread can stand alone without these seasonings; you may also increase or decrease any of them according to your own taste. Jalapeños vary widely in heat: some have none at all; others are fiercely hot. The only way to determine this is to taste a little bit of each one you cut up— if they’re mild, add a little more. Please remember to wear gloves or to wash your hands several times in succession after handling the chiles. You don’t realize how often you unconsciously touch one of your eyes until you do so with hot chile juice on your hands.
This makes a great accompaniment to eggs for brunch, or to a substantial salad for lunch. To serve the cornbread warm, slide it onto a cookie sheet and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Heat at 325°F (160°C) for about 15 minutes. Slide onto a platter or cutting board and serve immediately.
Keep the cornbread under a cake dome or loosely covered with plastic wrap on the day it is baked. Wrap in plastic wrap and foil and keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Freeze for longer storage; defrost and reheat as in Serving, above.
Old-Fashioned Corn Bread: Omit the chiles, scallions, and cilantro. Increase the sugar to
For Stuffing: Add
Corn Muffins: Use the jalapeño batter or the plain batter above to make 12 muffins. Line muffin pans with paper liners and bake them for about 20 minutes.
© 2008 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.