A recipe really is only as good as its ingredients and the care you put into it. Take this version of cornbread for example. Source the best ingredients, local when possible, like eggs from Morganic Farm or buttermilk from Shetler Family Dairy.
Take the time to brown the butter perfectly — found when it gets the color of apple cider. Use the best flours and cornmeal you can find. Maybe even give the cornmeal a brief toast in the oven to bring out more of that corn flavor. Serve the finished bread with more Shetler Family Dairy butter and some warmed star thistle honey from Champion Hill. It can take this cornbread from humble side dish to unapologetic main attraction.
Brown Butter Zucchini Cornbread
(adapted from Bon Appétit)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, plus more for greasing pan
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 10 oz. (about 2 heaping cups) shredded zucchini
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup medium-grind yellow cornmeal
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter a 9x5x3” loaf pan.
Melt ½ cup butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally as you continue to cook the butter until the solids at the bottom of the pan turn golden brown. Remove from heat. See photos for color reference – think apple cider or a good ale. Set aside. Once cooled, whisk in eggs, buttermilk and shredded zucchini.
Into a large bowl sift flours, sugar, soda and salt. Whisk in cornmeal. Add zucchini-brown butter mixture and fold until just blended. The mixture will be thick but don’t worry – it bakes up nice and moist. Transfer batter to the prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Store leftovers, if any, wrapped air-tight at room temperature. Or, cube remaining slices and toast in the oven on a sheet tray for the most amazing croutons ever.
Tenille Enger is an amateur cook and gardener with a passion for moments when the two intersect. She was a contributor to Taste the Local Difference® in both digital works and in print. You can contact her at [email protected].