Corn Bread Is Not A Dessert
Until I moved to the District, I presumed corn bread was, by and large, a savory product, punctuated perhaps with bits of jalapeno and/or cheddar cheese. But in the years since I moved here, I've only found the sweet version in restaurants. Most recently, I had some sweet corn muffins at Ardeo in Cleveland Park as part of its dinner bread service. They were fine—if I wanted them for breakfast.
Frankly, I'm tired of all the sweet corn breads around these parts. Can't someone serve a spicier, more savory version on occasion, just to satisfy those of us who don't want to choke on all that sugar? This weekend, out of nostalgia for the jalapeno corn bread I used to wolf down at Goode Company Barbecue, I made a batch of skillet corn bread loaded down with more diced jalapenos than allowed by Maryland law.
I started with the recipe for jalapeno corn bread in Robb Walsh's The Texas Cowboy Cookbook. (Full recipe below). I made only one real change: I cut down the sugar by half a tablespoon, just because I wanted to make sure these babies were gonna be hot, not sweet.
They were indeed hot—well, at least semi-hot—but they were also too dry for my tastes. My home oven, a bastard that I've bitched about before, was partly to blame, but I'd also point a finger to my cast-iron skillet, which is larger than the 10-inch one that Walsh calls for. The extra skillet surface meant that my corn bread was thinner than usual—and therefore more sensitive to heat. I had cut the suggested cooking time by about 10 minutes, but I should have cut it even further. Lesson learned.
The Shitheads who sampled my cornbread didn't complain too much, especially when they covered them in Shithead Judy's amazing baked beans.
Jalapeno Corn Bread
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tbs sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
3 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degree F. Lightly grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with vegetable oil and place it in the oven.
In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small separate bowl, beat the buttermilk, butter, and eggs together. Pour the egg mixture into the center of the dry mixture along with the jalapenos and black pepper. Stir with a fork until well blended. Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and pour the batter into it.
Bake in the center of the oven for 35 minutes, or until the edges pull away from the sides of the skillet and the top is lightly browned. Remove the corn bread from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before slicing.