Skillet Cornbread with Chives

by Hilary Gauntt on December 14, 2016

An editor at Bon Apetit asked a server at the Dabney restaurant in Washington D.C. what to order, and she insisted this cornbread was the best thing on the menu. Because you use a coarse grind cornmeal the crumb is grainy and corny and more of a savory treat than a cake-like cornbread. Spreading the top with butter and sprinkling chives and sea salt on top doesn’t hurt either. I served it warm with honey and berries in the morning and it was a hit.

2 cups coarse-grind cornmeal (most groceries carry this in smaller bags)

2 Tbs. sugar (optional but I recommended it)

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 Tbs. lard or vegetable oil

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 Tbs. finely chopped chives

Flaky sea salt for serving

Special equipment: a 10 inch cast-iron skillet . No doubt a regular baking dish would work also, but I would skip the preheating step.

Place a rack in the middle of the oven and set the skillet on the rack, preheat to 450 degrees.

Meanwhile, whisk cornmeal, sugar, kosher salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl to combine. Whisk egg and buttermilk in a medium bowl; add to dry ingredients and mix to incorporate.

Carefully (!!) remove the hot skillet from the oven, add the lard or oil, and swirl in the pan to coat. Scrape the batter into the skillet (it should sizzle around the edges on contact). Bake cornbread until top is golden brown and center is firm, 15-20 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Spread the butter over the cornbread, top with chives and sprinkle with sea salt.


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