Spicy Jalapeño-Cheddar Cornbread

Published January 1, 2005.

Why this recipe works:

The secret to a cornbread recipe with real corn flavor turned out to be pretty simple: Use corn, not just cornmeal. While fresh corn was best, frozen was nearly as good, and pureeing the kernels in a food processor made them easy to use while eliminating tough, chewy kernels. Since we couldn't… read more

The secret to a cornbread recipe with real corn flavor turned out to be pretty simple: Use corn, not just cornmeal. While fresh corn was best, frozen was nearly as good, and pureeing the kernels in a food processor made them easy to use while eliminating tough, chewy kernels. Since we couldn't assume that everyone would own the cast-iron skillet in which Southern cornbreads traditionally get their thick crust, we compensated by baking the bread at a higher than conventional temperature, producing a crunchy crust full of toasted corn flavor.

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Makes one 8-inch Square

Before preparing the baking dish or any of the other ingredients, measure out the frozen kernels and let them stand at room temperature until needed. When corn is in season, fresh cooked kernels can be substituted for the frozen corn. This recipe was developed with Quaker yellow cornmeal; a stone-ground whole-grain cornmeal will work but will yield a drier and less tender cornbread. We prefer a Pyrex glass baking dish because it yields a nice golden-brown crust, but a metal baking dish (nonstick or traditional) will also work. The cornbread is best served warm; leftovers can be wrapped in foil and reheated in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Ingredients

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