I love making this foolproof cornbread recipe. The only difference between versions is the flavor combination. The list of adaptations is endless. I never have a specific idea of the meal I'm going to prepare on a daily basis. My first reflex is to inspect my refrigerator, then go through the pantry and finally mix and match flavors that can complement one another. That's the beauty of cooking.
This time, I mixed crushed hazelnuts, dried porcini mushrooms and roasted garlic into the batter. The pungency from the garlic, the richness from the hazelnuts and the extravagance of the mushrooms created the ultimate, most luxurious cornbread I could think of. Don't you agree?
Servings: 6 servings
1 cup corn meal
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1¼ teaspoons salt
5 small whole eggs, at room temperature
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup hazelnuts, coarsely crushed
4 cloves roasted garlic
½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Prepping the dried porcini mushrooms: Put the dried mushrooms in a small jar and pour a cup of room-temperature milk over them. Soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms, draining (and reserving) the soaking liquid. Strain the mushroom liquid and pass through a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse in several water baths. Set aside.
Making the cornbread batter:
Apply about 1 tablespoon of butter to a non-stick cake pan 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, corn meal, baking powder and salt. Wet the mixture with the mushroom-scented milk. Add the softened butter and extra virgin olive oil. Add the buttermilk. 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 hazelnuts, roasted garlic and mushrooms. Even out the surface of 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.
My trick so the mushrooms 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.