Herbed Corn Bread

September 1, 2006

Herbed Corn Bread

Varietal: Chardonnay (Oaked)

Serves 6

The all-American favorite, corn bread, is updated here with the addition of sweet corn and herbs of the season. The flavor changes depending on the type of herb you use–sage lends a mellow, earthy taste; dill gives a bracing, pine-y flavor; while thyme provides a sweet, pungent effect. But underlying the herb topnotes is that undeniable sweet, musky corn flavor, which pairs so well with an oaky Chardonnay, one that has undergone malolactic fermentation, sur-lies aging, and/or additional fermentation in oak barrels. This recipe, which appears in Inside the Pike Place Market: Exploring America’s Favorite Farmers’ Market, can also be used as the basis for a delicious corn bread stuffing for Thanksgiving dinner. Simply combine with day-old artisan bread cubes, sautéed white or yellow onions and red peppers, cooked slices of Italian sausage, plus a couple of beaten eggs to bind.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed if frozen)

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, sage, or thyme OR 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill, thyme, or oregano, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the butter in a 9-inch pie plate or 9-inch ovenproof skillet and heat in the oven 5 minutes, or until the butter melts. Do not allow the butter to burn.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until frothy, then add the buttermilk, corn, and herbs. Remove the pie plate from the oven and brush melted butter over the bottom and sides. Pour the extra butter into the egg mixture and return the pie plate to the oven. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Carefully remove the pie plate from the oven, pour in the batter and smooth the top of the dough, and immediately return to the oven.

Bake cornbread 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs. Loosen the edges of the cornbread, cut the cornbread into six wedges, and serve immediately. The bread can also be cooled completely, wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to six months.