Saturday, November 23, 2013

Buttermilk Scallion Corn Cakes

A traditional staple of the Southern table is cornbread, whether made in a skillet or as muffins or cornpone. Another option is to take that same batter and turn it into corn cakes. I'd long suspected that my mother's simple Georgia cornbread recipe would make excellent corn cakes. I put the idea to the test recently, tweaking the recipe just a bit to make it suitable for griddle cooking, and a little more interesting than just plain corn cakes.

It's common for corn cakes to include corn kernels for a little texture. Instead I went the flavor route and did a riff on Asian scallion pancakes. The result was very satisfying. They were good all on their own as a side; even better with some butter. (Isn't everything?) Next, I used the scallion corn cakes as a base for for serving chili, and that was definitely a winner. I can imagine the would be a good base for any sort of stew, or pulled pork or beef.

Of course you could substitute any sort of onion for the scallion. If using regular onion, shallots, leeks, etc. I would just be sure to slice thinly and saute a bit before adding to the batter.

Buttermilk Scallion Corn Cakes

Based on Barbara Ferrell's Georgia Cornbread

1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup self-rising white cornmeal / cornmeal mix*
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 to 6 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat a griddle or skillet, preferably non-stick, over medium-high heat.

Combine the egg & buttermilk. Gently stir in the cornmeal and baking soda and mix until just moistened; it's ok if there are still a few lumps. Stir in scallions and butter.

If the griddle or skillet is not non-stick, add a small amount of butter or oil. Add the batter to form the corn cakes, a few tablespoons or more to make cakes of the desired size. Cook until the edges are slightly dry and the cakes are golden brown on the bottom. Flip and cook on the other side until done.

* Self-rising cornmeal without flour is hard to find these days, so I usually wind up using the stuff labeled "mix" and live with the bit of flour. I'm a White Lily girl, but Martha White is OK if you must. If self-rising cornmeal/mix isn't available in your area, you can make your own:


Lesley Eats said...

These look delicious. I'll have to remember this recipe so I can use the cornmeal mix I bought accidentally. Because I use self-rising cornmeal, too. I found it at Publix in West Nashville. Dixie Lily is the brand, I think. So glad they carry it. There are a few mom & pop-type stores around that carry it, too.

TLF said...

Yes I remember our discussion about cornmeal. I don't go to Publix that often, and it's just been my luck that when I decide I need some, I'm standing in the Kroger aisle. I need to make an express trip to get some. Blasphemously, I've been thinking that the griddle cake version might improve with the addition of more flour. But I would never ever do that to the baked version. :D

Glad you like the recipe. It's simple, but good (with or without the scallions).

Lesley Eats said...

Ha--just saw your comment when I came over here to let you know that I tried your recipe, but used self-rising cornmeal instead of the mix (turns out, what I bought is just white cornmeal). Anyhoo, I added flour to it because it was really runny; I don't know how much, though. I just got it to a little thicker than pancake batter. So it came out in a slow pour. It was delicious! (I also added salt because of the extra flour). I think it ended up being about 1/3 cup. Try it next time. :)

TLF said...

That is a smart solution. Glad you liked them!