We made it guys. We all survived through one of the hottest, stickiest, most miserable summers in years to this, most perfect of seasons, fall. The sun is warm, but the breeze is cool, the leaves are starting to swirl in the wind and the light through the window doesn’t get any better.
I love fall, but fall gets me in trouble. It makes me buy things…boot things and scarf things and coat things; far more than I “need” (whatever that means). Fall makes me broke. It also makes me hungry. For braised things, and baked pastas, and warm apple cakes, and all the soups and stews. ALL the soups and stews. And all the good bready-carby stuffs that go with the soups and stews, while drinking all the red wine that was ever made. Fall, apparently, hasn’t caught on that I no longer need to add padding for winter, that there are things like thinsulate to take care of that. Fall is stuck in the stone age, but I love her anyways.
This weekend I finally busted out the fall cooking with a recipe that I’ll share with you later this week, and this cornbread. I love, love, love cornbread. Despite my years in the deep south, I fall firmly in the Northern sweet cornbread camp. This probably isn’t a surprise to any of you, since I’m constantly chattering about how I like my food savory AND sweet. I’m sorry, but when you’re eating a bowl of hearty, spicy chili or a plate of red beans and rice, laden with sausage, a little sweetness is key. I also find that the sweet cornbreads tend to be a bit more moist than their savory counterparts, but maybe I just haven’t had the right one. Yet. Shucks, I guess I need to keep trying them until I find one….woe is me (can you smell the sarcasm?).
This is a recipe that I keep going back to, because it’s the perfect balance of sweet honey and aromatic, savory sage, and has a beautiful crispy edge from the skillet it’s cooked in. It’s moist from the butter and the honey and just, well, a perfect way to welcome fall, even if she is a bad influence.
From Bon Appetit.
There’s a trick to getting your honey out of the measuing cup: before you measure, lightly spray the cup with nonstick cooking spray (or rub it with vegetable oil). The honey will come right out! This also works with molasses or anything else sticky.
1 c cornmeal (preferably whole grain, medium grind)
1 c unbleached all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
2 t chopped fresh sage plus 12 whole fresh sage leaves
1 c whole milk
1/2 c honey
1 large egg
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- Heat oven to 400°F. Place a 10″ cast iron or nonstick, oven-safe skillet in the oven and heat for 10 min
- In a medium bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and 2 t sage
- In another medium bowl, whisk together the milk, honey, and egg
- Remove the skillet from the oven and add the butter
- Pour all but 2 T of the butter into the egg mixture and whisk
- Add the whole sage leaves to the pan and toss to coat in the butter. Arrange around the pan (you can do a patten if you want, but they may move around a bit)
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (if will be runny and lumpy)
- Pour the batter over the sage leaves and return pan to oven
- Let cook 15~20 min, or until browned around the edges and the a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean
- Let cool in pan, ~10 min, then invert onto a plate