Key Ingredient

Cornbread Panzanella

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Photo by Jennifer Cole

Food Culture of the South

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Serves 4

    For the sour corn:
  • 2½ tablespoons pickling salt

  • 1 quart spring water (tap water can inhibit the fermentation process)

  • 2½ tablespoons black peppercorns
  • Kernels from 1 dozen ears of corn
  • For the cornbread:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups cornmeal

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 eggs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • For the salad:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • ¼ cup walnuts

  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2½ teaspoons dijon mustard

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Pepper to taste

  • 1 cup sour corn
  • 2 english cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup blueberries, halved

  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese

Be sure to start the sour corn at least a week before making the panzanella salad.

  1. Make the sour corn: Dissolve pickling salt in water, then add peppercorns. Add corn to a large jar and pour saltwater mixture over top. Using a small weight, such as a saucer, weigh down corn to ensure kernels remain submerged in brine. Over the course of 5 to 7 days, check corn to see if it’s developed a sour flavor. When it has, skim white film of yeast from surface, then transfer corn with its liquid to clean jars. Store refrigerated for up to 6 months.
  2. Make the cornbread: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt butter and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pepper. In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, and eggs. Slowly incorporate flour mixture. Once combined, transfer to a greased baking dish and bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Cut cornbread into cubes and toss in oil and spread on a baking sheet. Toast until edges brown, then set aside to cool.
  4. Make the salad: In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add walnuts and ½ teaspoon salt and toss to coat. Toast nuts until butter has browned slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, olive oil, salt, pepper, and walnuts. Add sour corn
and cucumbers. Toss gently, then top with blueberries and goat cheese.

From Eagle Street Soul.

  • Recipe by Ashleigh Shanti of Benne on Eagle, Asheville, North Carolina

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