I’m a sucker for warm cornbread with a butter crisp crust. Ingredients? The aromatic cornmeal was brought home in a brown sack as hard Flint corn kernels from Heritage Valley Grain CSA, then ground by Richard Bourdon at Berkshire Mountain bakery. The eggs came from my neighbor, Sean Stanton, at North Plain Farm, and the milk’s from High Lawn Farm’s Jersey cows, with their long upswept lashes.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/3 cups milk
1 cup plain yogurt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups coarse cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 slightly rounded teaspoon kosher salt
1.Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a 10,11 or 12 inch cast iron skillet. Tilt the pan so that the butter comes at least halfway up the sides all around. Let it cool.
2. Combine the wet ingredients in one bowl, whisking them together thoroughly. Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl and whisk to combine. Stir most of the cooled butter into the wet mixture, then immediately mix the wet mixture into the dry. Stir just until combined.
3-Heat the pan with the remaining butter in it until very hot. Pour the batter into the pan, scraping it out with the spatula if needed. Keep the heat on high for 2-3 minutes to sear the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the back of the oven and cook until very dark but not black, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.
A note on sourcing local ingredients
Sure, each bite of this cornbread conjured good memories of sourcing its ingredients. That feels good, but not good enough get sanctimonious about it. Striving too much do it can stop anyone flat, so: Just do your best. Local diary products are widely available and regional cornmeal can sometimes be found with a little foraging Even I gave up on the butter.