I recently saw on my Facebook page that one of PhamFatale's readers made my jalapeno cornbread, which reminded me that I hadn't made any in a long time. I created a new version using oil-cured black olives and an exquisite extra virgin olive oil from Cloud 9 Orchard.
May Chevallier is a true expert on olive oil and is the owner of a 140-acre ranch in southern Monterey County, where she planted 10, 000 olive trees. She's passionate about her Cloud 9 Orchard EVOO, which has won many prestigious awards. I recently met with May and she educated me about how to discern the quality of olive oil. I learned that too often olive oil is artificially enhanced with chlorophyll for color and synthetic olive flavor. Cloud 9 Orchard is free from any of these adulterations. You can order May's extra virgin olive oil directly from her. You won't be disappointed.
Servings: 6 servings
¼ cup coarse corn meal (polenta)
3/4 cup semolina flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1-¼ teaspoons salt
5 small whole eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/3 cups whole milk
¼ cup oil-cured black olives (see tips)
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Prepping the olives: Pit and coarsely chop the olives. Dredge them in a little bit of flour. Set aside.
Making the cornbread batter:
Apply about 1 tablespoon of butter to a non-stick cake pan, previously lined with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until you get a pale yellow foam; the texture of the egg yolk will be thicker. Add the flour, coarse corn meal, semolina flour, baking powder and salt. Wet the mixture with the milk. Add the softened butter and extra virgin olive oil. Stir well until smooth and wet. For a light result, do not over-mix.
Pour the cornbread batter into the cake pan. Sprinkle with the olives. Even out the surface and cover the olives with the batter using a spreader or spatula.
Bake for 5 minutes at 375°F; lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for about 30 minutes. Rotate the pan for even baking and cook for 10-12 more minutes. A skewer or a toothpick inserted into the cornbread should come out clean. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
I buy oil-cured French black olives (love the added saltiness to the cornbread) from my favorite local market, the Milk Pail. The address is 2585 California Street, Mountain View, CA 94040.
My trick so the olives don't sink to the bottom of the pan is to dredge them into a little bit of flour before adding to the cornbread batter.
For a moist result, you want the cornbread batter to be wet and rather sticky. Also make sure not to over-mix it.