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Zinfandel Skillet Cornbread

Source: Zinfandel - Chicago, Illinois

The secret is in using a cast iron skillet. Nonstick pans produce anemic, soft corn bread. This recipe also works well with corn stick or muffin molds, as long as they?re well-seasoned cast iron. If your pan is hot enough, the batter will immediately rise and start to cook around the edges. (The restaurant?s skillets rarely leave the oven.)

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
Buckwheat-Honey Butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Put a dry, well-seasoned 9- to 9 1/2-inch cast-iron skillet in middle of oven to heat.

Stir together cornmeal, baking soda, and salt, crushing any small bits of baking soda. Whisk eggs in another bowl until blended and whisk in buttermilk.

Remove hot skillet from oven carefully and add butter, swirling gently to coat bottom and sides of skillet. (If butter begins to sizzle and brown around edges, so much the better.)

Whisk hot butter into buttermilk mixture and return skillet to oven. Stir cornmeal into buttermilk mixture just until moistened. (The batter does not have to be smooth ? a few small lumps are good.)

Scrape batter into hot skillet and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Invert skillet over a platter and cool bread at least 3 minutes.

Serve with Buckwheat-Honey Butter.

Serves 8.

Buckwheat-Honey Butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
2 tablespoons buckwheat honey (or pure maple syrup)

Combine both ingredients.

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