Edna Lewis was as spare with her words as she was her ingredients, choosing each with consideration and care so as to allow its essence to speak for itself. So although this simple, soulful recipe may seem remiss by today’s standards, seeing as it lacked any sort of preamble or rambling ode, in her mind, there wasn’t any need for that. I can’t say as I disagree.–Renee Schettler Rossi
LC Simple is as Simple Does Note
Spoon bread is so-called because it’s supposed to be so soft that you can’t cut it with a knife as you do corn bread, explains LC recipe tester and Southern food aficionado Karen Depp, who likens the consistency to that of a soft pudding as opposed to a sturdy corn bread. Ms. Lewis liked to serve this simple, creamy, satiating pudding of sorts for supper alongside whole scallions sweated in butter over a low flame in a covered pan. We won’t object to that. Nor will we object to serving this spoon bread at breakfast with eggs sunny-side up along with those scallions…or perhaps country ham and a generous drizzle of maple syrup…or, well, you tell us.
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 45 M
- Serves 4 to 6
Special Equipment: 1 1/2-quart souffle dish or a 8-inch square baking dish
- 1 cup white cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/3 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (Ms. Lewis preferred Royal brand, although chances are any kind will make do)
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus loads more for serving
- 2 cups buttermilk (either low-fat or full-fat)
- 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204° C).
- 2. Sift the cornmeal, salt, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl and combine. Make a well in the center. Dump the beaten eggs into the well but do not incorporate them yet.
- 3. Place the butter in a 1 1/2-quart souffle dish or a 8-inch square baking dish and put it in the oven just until the butter melts. (You don’t want to preheat the dish as long as you would, say, a cast-iron skillet in which you intend to bake corn bread. Such a high heat could cause the spoon bread to separate.)
- 4. Now vigorously stir the eggs into the cornmeal mixture. Then add the buttermilk, stirring well. (You want to be certain to thoroughly incorporate everything or this, too, could cause the spoon bread to separate. This means you want to be certain that the beaters or spoon reaches all the way to the bottom of the bowl. Sometimes using a handheld beater as opposed to a stand mixer works better.)
- 5. Now carefully remove the hot dish from the oven and tilt it around to slick the entire surface with butter. Tip any excess butter from the dish into the batter and stir quickly to incorporate, then pour the batter into the hot baking dish.
- 6. Bake the spoon bread for 35 minutes. Spoon it hot from the dish with loads of fresh butter on the side.