The Recipe: A real seasonal treat, a skillet of warm corn bread studded with fresh blueberries. It's what summer is all about ...
For some years now, I've tossed fresh blueberries into summer skillets of corn bread. That wet "mouth pop" as the berries burst? Like fireworks for food.
And I always intended to take the corn bread to a new place, slightly richer (more butter, naturally) and slightly sweeter (with honey, perhaps?) and definitely more corn-y (would fresh corn kernels mess up the texture?) – yeah, I
obsess over think about such culinary conundrums. (Conundra? Two semesters of university Latin fails me ... )
I told myself that after I found that new and certainly "happy" corn-bread place, then, then, really, I'd share the idea here: it's way too good to keep for myself. But in the mean time, never once did the addition of fresh blueberries ruin a good corn bread.
And then I came across a 2008 recipe from Canadian Living and if anyone knows blueberries, it's Canadians: if blueberries aren't the national fruit, they should be. When I think of all the blueberries we picked at the summer cottage in the Manitoba Whiteshell, battling both bears and bugs.
The magazine's recipe gathered up almost all my ideas, a butter-rich, sweeter-than-my-usual if not-exactly-sweet corn bread, kept moist with a delicious corn milk mixed in the blender. A word to the wise about that corn milk? Make some extra because once you get out a spoon for a quick taste, you'll want another. And another. And another.
Now-a-days, I battle only crowds and carts at Sam's Club for blueberries but I'd do almost anything for a summer corn bread this good.
You see, it's heaven, complete with fireworks.
SUMMER CORN BREAD with BLUEBERRIES
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes 8 generous servings, 12 smaller servings
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
BLENDER (WET INGREDIENTS)
- 1 cup (145g) fresh corn kernels
- 1 cup (245g) buttermilk
- 6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup (50g) brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Zest of a lemon, optional
LARGE MIXING BOWL (DRY INGREDIENTS)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 125g
- 1-1/4 cup (200g) yellow cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- Sprinkle sugar, optional
- Handful blueberries
CAST IRON SKILLET Set oven to 375F/190C. Put butter into a 9-inch or 10-inch (23-25cm) cast iron skillet, put the skillet into the oven while the oven heats up to temperature.
BLENDER Mix all the wet ingredients until smooth.
LARGE MIXING BOWL Stir together all the dry ingredients.
COMBINE With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir blender contents into the mixing bowl. When most of the flour has been absorbed into the liquid, stir in the blueberries but take care to not overmix.
Remove hot skillet from the oven, brush butter up the sides, then turn batter into hot skillet. Sprinkle with sugar and top with a last handful of blueberries.
BAKE for about 30 to 35 minutes until top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
TO SERVE WARM. Let cool for 10 - 15 minutes, then slice and serve. Otherwise, let cool completely, cover and serve the same day.
MAKE-AHEAD Up to a few hours before baking, mix and refrigerate the wet ingredients; mix the dry ingredients; but do not combine. About an hour before serving, heat the cast iron skillet and butter; combine the wet and dry ingredients, stir in the blueberries, apply the sugar and blueberry toppings and bake.
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