Spicy Jalapeño Cornbread

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    one

    round cornbread

Appears in

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.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 fresh jalapeño chiles, stemmed, halved, seeded, interior ribs removed, and sliced
  • 6 scallions (green onions), white parts and an equal amount of the green, rinsed, roots removed, and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups light cream, half-and-half, buttermilk, or milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • One 10-inch (25-cm) round pan, 2 inches (5 cm) deep, buttered and the bottom lined with a disk of parchment or buttered wax paper cut to fit

Method

  1. Pour the oil into a small sauté pan and add the chiles and scallions. Place over medium heat and cook just until slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 375°F (190°C).
  3. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir well to mix.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs to break them up and then whisk in the cream, butter, the cooked chiles and scallions, and the cilantro.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture all at once and use a large rubber spatula to fold them into the liquid. The batter will be very thick.
  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the cornbread until it is well risen and a toothpick or a narrow-bladed knife inserted into the center of the bread emerges clean, about 30 minutes.
  7. Cool the cornbread in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold it onto a plate. Peel off the paper if it is stuck to the bottom of the cornbread. Invert the cornbread back onto the rack, then remove the plate, and cool the cornbread on the rack. Slide the cornbread onto a platter or cutting board to serve it.

Serving

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.

Storage

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.

Variations

Old-Fashioned Corn Bread: Omit the chiles, scallions, and cilantro. Increase the sugar to ¼cup.

For Stuffing: Add 2tablespoons poultry seasoning or Atablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves.

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.

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