Roasted Sweet Corn Cornbread
If you happened to do something silly like google “cornbread recipes” you won’t find many recipes that have fresh corn in them.
To an extent, this makes sense to me. Cornbread is used as a quick bread side for sturdy dishes like chili and is supposed to be a year-round option. Fresh corn isn’t exactly great in February so most recipes just leave it out.
I’ll stay out of the debate on whether or not cornbread should include things like flour or sugar and just say that if you want to make a cornbread this time of year, when fresh sweet corn is at its prime, you might as well use it. Smoke ’em if you got ’em right?
While some cornbreads end up dense and thick – good for soaking up soups and such, this version is actually lighter. Because it’s loaded with fresh corn, the cornbread will break apart and have valleys and ridges (think of the best English Muffin).
Because of the softer texture, this version might fall apart if you dunked it in a soup, but it’s perfect for topping with butter and/or honey and eating for breakfast or even dessert. Because of the sweet corn, you might think it has sugar in it, but it’s just the corn. All corn all day.
This is the cornbread recipe of summer!
1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Roast sweet corn until it’s slightly charred in places and tender, about 15 minutes, turning a few times while it roasts.
2) In a large bowl mix together cornmeal and buttermilk and let sit. Let this sit for at least 10 minutes.
3) When corn is done roasting cut the kernels off the cobs. Add kernels from two ears to a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth but some chunks are fine. Save the kernels from the third to mix into the batter later.
4) Preheat a 12-inch cast iron skillet in the oven. Let it heat for at least 10 minutes.
5) Stir pureed corn and eggs into the cornmeal batter. Add olive oil, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chili powder (optional).
6) Fold in grated cheese and roasted corn to the batter.
7) When cast iron skillet is preheated, add butter to pan and let melt. Swirl butter around the pan and then pour in the cornbread batter.
8) Bake cornbread for 20-25 minutes at 450 degrees F. until edges are crispy brown and center is baked through (a knife or pastry tester should come out clean).
9) Let cornbread cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve cornbread with honey or butter or BOTH!
Roasted Corn Cornbread
You have many options on how to roast your corn. If you happen to have a hot grill, toss a few ears on and use them when you want to make this recipe. If you don’t have a grill or don’t want to fire it up, you can just roast a few ears at 450 degrees F. until the corn is tender and slightly charred in places, about 15 minutes.
While your corn is roasting, get the batter started for this bread. Stir together the cornmeal with the buttermilk so the cornmeal can soak in some of the buttermilk. Let this sit for 10 minutes or so.
The Important Step!
When your corn is roasted, cut the kernels off of two ears and pulse them in a food processor until they are in a rough paste. This paste has intense corn flavor and will fold into the batter perfectly. Keep a third ear of corn kernels whole for some texture in the bread.
Stir the pureed corn and the eggs into the soaked cornmeal. It’s a simple batter, but has a great color and texture already.
Then fold in the other ear of corn and the grated cheese. You can also stir in the salt, olive oil and chili powder at this point.
Don’t stir in the leavening stuff (baking powder, baking soda) until right before you start baking the cornbread.
Baking the Cornbread
When you’re ready to bake, preheat your cast iron skillet (12-inch size) for 10 minutes in the oven and then melt some butter in it. Swirl the butter around in the hot pan and then pour in your finished batter (don’t forget to stir in the leavening stuff).
Because the pan is hot, the batter will start to sizzle and cook immediately around the edges. A good sign!
Bake this beauty for 20-25 minutes at 450 degrees F.
Your finished cornbread will be crispy and browned on the edges and cooked through in the center. Let the whole thing cool for 10 minutes before you slice and serve.
I cut out a little chunk so you could see all the lovely texture in this cornbread.
This roasted corn cornbread will keep at room temperature for a few days or wrap it tightly in the fridge for longer. You could also freeze it without much issue.
I have a hard time walking by it without breaking off a chunk as a snack. It has a perfect savory/sweet flavor that I just can’t get enough of.
Is it possible that cornbread was made for winter dishes but is actually best in the summer? Maybe… just maybe.