Summer is slowly (slowly) moving toward autumn, and the peak bounty of high summer farmers market produce is starting to taper off in anticipation of the fall harvest. There are still tomatoes, corn, peaches, peppers, but not for long. And though I love eating seasonal, I am close to having had my fill, ready for the winter squashes, apples and pears. I’ve put up all my summer canning projects, but I am still shopping and still making the most of summer. This loaded cornbread is a perfect vehicle for market finds. It’s particularly good for using up the last little bits and bobs from your farmers market haul – one cob of corn, one pepper, a handful of cherry tomatoes. Don’t like jalapenos – leave them out or go wild with some spicier peppers or mild with some sliced bell peppers. Use a shallot or half of a small red onion instead of the green onion. Cheddar is pretty classic but use monterrey jack or fontina or whatever you prefer. I’ve used smoked cheddar cheese which is a great little twist. Add some finely chopped herbs if you have some lingering. I like that this is vegetable focused, but you could absolutely add some crumbled bacon (and use the grease instead of the oil).
This packed-with-flavor bread is great beside a simple grilled meat or roast, but could very much be a meal on its own with a side salad or maybe the last of summer’s watermelon. Serve it in generous wedges on its own, with pats of butter to melt over the top if you like, or drizzle with honey. I have used spicy hot honey which adds a whole extra dimension.
Farmers Market Cornbread
2/3 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 1 cob)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
4 green onions, white and light green parts only
1 large jalapeno pepper
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups plain yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 ½ cups whole buttermilk
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
4 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
- Cut the kernels from the corn cob, measure and set aside. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and finely slice the green onions. Thinly slice the jalapenos and remove the seeds, then wash your hands immediately. I do this all on a small cutting board and make little piles of each and set it aside near the stove.
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Pour the oil into a 10 -inch cast iron skillet and swirl to coat the bottom. Place the pan in the oven until it is very hot, about 10 minutes, while you whip up the cornbread.
- Put the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Measure the buttermilk in a 4-cup jug or small bowl, then whisk in the eggs and melted butter. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir just until combined and there are no visible traces of dry ingredients in the bowl. Fold in half of the cheese cubes, half of the sliced green onion and about 1/3 of the corn kernels. Carefully pour the batter into the hot skillet – I pull the skillet out of the oven and place it on the stovetop (not the counter!) wearing oven mitts the scrape in the batter and return it carefully to the oven, of course with the mitts. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove carefully from the oven to the stovetop again. Scatter the halved cherry tomatoes, remaining, cheese, corn, corn and green onions and the jalapeno slices over the top. Put the mitts back on and put the skillet in the oven again and bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25- 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature cut into generous wedges.