The New York Restaurant Cookbook: Recipes from the Dining Capital of the Worldby Florence Fabricant (Rizzoli, 2003)
It's that springtime time of year, when Gothamist's thoughts turn to summer cookouts and fresh local produce (we still retain faint memories of last summer's culinary delights). Unfortunately, when we mosey over to the Union Square farmers' market, we still don't find as many fruits and vegetables as we'd like (and don't even get us started on this cold weather). Nonetheless, we persevere in our hunt for summer flavor, and in that endeavor we stumbled upon Pearson's BBQ's take on cornbread, which adds cheese, creamed corn, and jalapeños to the mix.
Many cornbread recipes contain just as much flour as cornmeal, but this one is an all-cornmeal affair, giving an intense corn flavor (especially with the creamed-corn inclusion) to balance out the cheese and jalapeño. And there's no reason to be afraid of this quick bread being too spicy--the baking process mellows the chile considerably, leaving just a hint of flavor and hardly any heat.
While at Pearson's you'd probably eat this with barbecued pork and collard greens, Gothamist served ours with a roasted herb chicken and green salad to fine effect. Further, we chose to make ours in muffin form because we didn't have the right size pan handy, and were quite pleased with the result. If you do make them as muffins, adjust the time to approximately 15 minutes, and keep a watch for when they start to brown up a bit around the edges. (Also note that this recipe makes a lot of cornbread, and can be cut in half if you don't want so many leftovers.)
The leftover muffins even warmed up very nicely the next couple of days, with the dry heat of the toaster bringing them back to their sunny former selves.
CHEESE AND CHILE CORNBREAD
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon corn oil
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 (15 oz.) can of creamed corn
1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
7 oz. Colby cheese, grated, approximately 1 3/4 cups
Use the teaspoon of oil to grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan. If pan is glass or ceramic, preheat the oven to 350˚F; otherwise, preheat the oven to 375˚F.
In a large bowl lightly beat the eggs. Whisk in the buttermilk, baking soda, salt, and cornmeal. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of oil and mix, then the creamed corn, jalapeño, and cheese. Pour the batter into the oiled pan and bake about 40 minutes, until lightly browned.
Cool on a rack, cut in squares, and serve.