Cast-Iron Skillet Cornbread
I grew up eating meals from a cast iron skillet. I'm pretty sure my mom got her skillet from her mom, and so on and so on. The reason those meals were so memorable was because the more you use cast iron, the more flavor it retains and thus infuses into food. It can be a cheesy egg frittata, Grandma's scalloped potatoes or an aunt's Sheppard's pie -- the older the pan, the better the flavor. Cornbread is a great example. Traditional cornbread just doesn't taste or look the same when you bake it in a baking dish (yes, I've done it, and probably even on this blog).
With a cast iron pan, you can preheat and "grease" the pan first, which gives the finished bread that incredible crisp-around-the-edges-moist-in-the-middle texture. But those recipes use heaps of butter which, as I discovered during recipe testing, isn't needed. To replace traditional fat (sometimes more than a stick of butter), I used low-fat buttermilk and 2% Greek yogurt. I still greased the pan with some melted butter for the same incredible flavor and color. Whether your cast iron pan is old or new, try this recipe and let me know what you think!
Place an 8-9-inch cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees (with the skillet in the oven).
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Whisk together the buttermilk, yogurt, egg, and 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Add the buttermilk mixture to the cornmeal mixture and whisk until the batter is smooth, being careful not to over-mix.
Remove the hot skillet from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Coat the bottom and sides of the hot skillet with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Pour the batter into the skillet and return the skillet to the oven, on a center rack. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and cornbread begins to pull away from the sides of the skillet. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.