Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a 1 1/2 quart souffle dish or casserole with 1 tablespoon of the butter and dust with 1 tablespoon of the cornmeal.
In a medium saucepan, scald the half-and-half and remaining butter over medium-high heat. While whisking constantly, gradually pour in the cornmeal and salt. Lower the heat and simmer, while whisking, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Scrape the cornmeal mixture into a bowl and whisk in the egg yolks, one by one. Whisk in the baking powder, chives, and cayenne.
In a clean non-reactive bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Lightly mix a quarter of the whites into the cornmeal mixture to lighten it, and then fold in the rest with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and bake until puffed and golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Serve immediately as a side dish or as a main course with tomato salad.
Tomato Salad with Herbs
In a large serving bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add the tomatoes, herbs, and scallions and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Serve.
Yield: 4 servings
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