There are many versions of cornpone (or corn pone), a true staple of the American South. But the root of it all is a simple, easy cornmeal dish that's like cornbread, only in this case without out the leavener, eggs and buttermilk. The savory little patties are proof that you don’t need a lot of ingredients to make something tasty. They're great for dipping in soups and stews, as a stand-in for biscuits as a breakfast side or on their own, slathered with butter and molasses or honey, for a quick snack. One bite and you will see why cornpone has lasted through the years.
Put a large cast-iron skillet in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Whisk the cornmeal, oil, warm water and salt together in a large bowl until combined. The batter will be a little thicker than pancake batter, so it is easy to scoop with a spoon.
Remove the hot skillet from the oven and add the remaining tablespoon of oil, swirling to coat. Spoon the batter into the skillet, making 7 to 8 ovals (each about 1/3 cup). Flatten the tops a bit with the back of the spoon. It is fine if the ovals touch slightly.
Bake until the ovals are golden on the bottom and firm on top, about 40 minutes. Serve with butter and molasses or honey if using.
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