I love a meal that can be translated into many different dishes as leftovers with minimal effort. During busy and stressful weeks it is nice to have something in the refrigerator that you can pull out and dress up in any way you like and have a meal in minutes.
I have made a lot of polenta and cornbread in my day. But never spoon bread, even though just a glance in the direction of a spoon bread recipe makes my mouth water. I mean, fluffy, melt in your mouth cornbread? And I get to eat it with a spoon? Sign me up!
There is an alarming amount of blue cornmeal in my pantry considering the only thing I ever make with it are gluten-free crackers. I have always wanted to experiment with and substitute it for regular, yellow cornmeal, but I have been afraid. Afraid of what exactly? I don't know. Just afraid.
However, after being inspired by another blogger who made a whole cake out of blue cornmeal I became determined to get over my fear. And so, I decided to marry the two ideas when I came across a recipe for spoon bread in my new cookbook by Mollie Katzen, Vegetable Heaven, that Mamacita got me for the holidays.
And it was good. I don't know what I have been so afraid of (that the yellow cornmeal zealots would come and picket at my house?, that the Bureau of Proper Cornmeal Usage would investigate me?). Honestly, I think I was just afraid I would somehow ruin it. Which, the way things have been going in my kitchen lately, should not really be something I am afraid of anymore.
So, I say go forth fellow food lovers and substitute blue cornmeal for yellow! Let it be known: It is both beautiful and delicious.
Blue Cornmeal Spoon Bread
adapted from Vegetable Heaven
Like I mentioned earlier, one of the best things about this dish is the ease with which you can change it up in minutes. I served mine with cheddar, salsa, and avocado, but the options are limitless. It would be amazing next to enchiladas, covered in fresh fruit and creme fraiche, mushroom gravy, next to a salad, or, well, you get the idea. Get creative with it.
3 cups milk (full-fat, fat free, soy are all fine)
1 cup blue cornmeal (use white or yellow, if you must)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 cup minced scallions (both white and green parts)
1 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 large eggs
1/2 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
oil or butter to grease the baking dish
Grease an 8x8 inch baking dish. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the milk in a medium sized sauce pan and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
While the milk is heating up chop the scallions, grate the cheese, and set them aside. Scramble the eggs in a separate bowl and set them aside as well.
Once your milk has just started to boil begin to add the cornmeal slowly while whisking constantly. Continue to cook the mixture, while stirring constantly for another five minutes then remove it from the heat.
Immediately add the scallions, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and stir. Them add the eggs while stirring (to prevent them from cooking). Lastly, add the cheese and stir one last time.
Place the whole mixture into the baking dish. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. The center will be firm when it is done.
Serve hot with your choice of toppings.
I love that pretty blue!