When I was planning dinner around a Georgian kidney bean salad, I was on the look-out for something vege-filled and cheesy, with a plan for bread on the side. As I flicked through the brunch section Ottolenghi's Simple, our neighbourhood groupchat lit up with offers of corn and coriander, and this cornbread recipe appeared as the ideal dish to cover all bases.
We claimed our neighbours' veges and I figured out we could crank up the cornbread quantity by 50%, plenty to send a small-sized loaf back to them in thanks. (I've just included the standard recipe quantity below.) It's an ostentatious recipe, with charred corn plus green flecks of spring onion, coriander and jalapeño in a dough heavy with sour cream. Then it's loaded further with toppings: red onion, two kinds of cheese, jalapeño rings and (if you can find them - I couldn't) nigella seeds.
The one hitch during preparation was that as soon as the polenta hit the sour cream, it turned cement-like and very difficult to mix. Stirring didn't get any easier as I attempted to introduce the dry ingredients, herbs and veges. In the method below, I've reordered the process as an attempt to make things easier next time.
I was thrilled with the final product, and proud to share it. The cornbread was so tender, and tasty, and varied from mouthful to mouthful, savoury and sweet with a little kick of chilli. Cornbread typically goes stale fast, so we made sure to reheat our leftovers and were just an enamoured of them as the wedges that we cut that first time out of the oven.
(very slightly adapted from a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi's Simple)
the kernels from 2 cobs corn
140g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne
50g brown sugar
salt and pepper
360g sour cream
120mL olive oil
4 spring onions, roughly chopped
10g coriander leaves, chopped
2 fresh jalapeño chillis, 1 finely chopped and 1 sliced into rounds
100g feta, crumbled
100g sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Preheat an oven to 170°C. Line a high-walled baking dish (around 28cm square) with paper, and spray it with oil.
Set a dry frypan over medium-high heat. Add the corn kernels and fry them, stirring occasionally, until charred on some sides. Set them aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, cumin and cayenne. Stir through the sugar, polenta, plus salt and pepper.
In a second medium-sized bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs and olive oil. Pour it into the dry ingredients and stir everything together until combined. Fold in the spring onions, coriander leaves, finely chopped jalapeño, and toasted corn kernels.
Turn the cornbread dough into the baking dish and spread it out as evenly as you can. Scatter over the jalapeño rounds, feta, cheddar and onion. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature, and be sure to reheat any leftovers as cornbread goes stale fast.