There’s some­thing about bring­ing a hot skil­let right from oven to ta­ble. All the in­gre­di­ents can be ready to go—all the dry in­gre­di­ents in one bowl, the liq­uid mixed to­gether in an­other and all that’s re­quired is a quick stir and a quick bake. Ad­mit­tedly in this case, there’s also a quick broil, but that’s only if you want a nice crispy top. And as usual, for me at least, the crispy part is the best part. For op­ti­mum flavour, use a well-aged ched­dar cheese.

1 cup (250 mL) all-pur­pose flour

1 cup (250 mL) corn­meal

1 tbsp (15 mL) su­gar

2 tsp (10 mL) bak­ing pow­der

½ tsp (2 mL) salt

5 strips ba­con, cooked, drained and bro­ken into ¼ inch (5 mm) pieces

1 cup (250 mL) shred­ded white ched­dar cheese, di­vided

½ cup (125 mL) finely chopped chives

¾ cup (175 mL) sour cream, room tem­per­a­ture ½ cup (125 mL) but­ter­milk, room tem­per­a­ture 2 eggs, room tem­per­a­ture

3 tbsp (45 mL) un­salted but­ter, melted and cooled slightly, plus 1 tbsp (15 mL) for the pan 2 tbsp (30 mL) canola or veg­etable oil

1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL) chopped chives for gar­nish

1 Place a 10-inch (25-cm) skil­let or cast iron pan on the mid­dle rack in the oven and pre­heat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

2 In a medium bowl, whisk to­gether the flour, corn­meal, su­gar, bak­ing pow­der and salt. Stir in the ba­con pieces, 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the shred­ded cheese and the chives. In a sep­a­rate bowl, whisk to­gether the sour cream, but­ter­milk, eggs, 3 tbsp (45 mL) melted but­ter and the oil. Pour the wet in­gre­di­ents into the dry in­gre­di­ents and mix gently with a rub­ber spat­ula un­til com­pletely com­bined. 3 Care­fully re­move the hot pan from the oven and add the re­main­ing 1 tbsp (15 mL) of but­ter. Swirl the pan around to com­pletely coat it with but­ter. Add the corn­bread bat­ter and spread it evenly in the pan. Re­turn to the oven and bake for 18 to 20 min­utes or un­til risen and just be­gin­ning to brown around the edges.

4 Re­move the pan from the oven and pre­heat the broiler. Top the corn­bread with the re­main­ing 1/2 cup (125 mL) of ched­dar cheese. Place the pan un­der the broiler un­til the cheese is melted and turns light golden brown. Re­move from oven, sprin­kle chopped chives over­top, and serve di­rectly from the pan. The corn cake can be re­heated the next day, but the top­ping will no longer be crispy. Wrap it in foil and warm in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 10 to 15 min­utes. Serves 10

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