Saturday, July 23, 2011

Zucchini Cornbread

I was looking back through the blog and I think we have by far the most posts about zucchini (or summer squash) of any vegetable.  We make zucchini quite often as a side dish, but we have also incorporated it into various zucchini breads and cakes, pastas, and other dishes.  We just love zucchini.  Or maybe I just love zucchini - Alex informs me that it is mostly my fault that we make so much of it.  Whatever.  So I love it.  It's delicious.  But when I saw this Zucchini Cornbread recipe in the July 2011 issue of Bon Appetit I was immediately hooked.  I had to make it.  And now, thanks to my CSA, I finally have.  As a side note, the July and August 2011 issues of Bon Appetit were both really good!  I have a ton of recipes picked out from July especially that I can't wait to make.  But back to the cornbread.  Things I really enjoyed about it - the cornbread is really moist (I love how zucchini and buttermilk leave baked goods nice and moist), with a subtle tang from the buttermilk, and a richness and depth of flavor from the browned butter.  And by using sea salt instead of kosher salt you get these little explosions of salt flavor spread throughout the cornbread.  There's also a really nice crust on top and texture from the cornmeal.  I think the proportions of flour to cornmeal were perfect to give you a really nice fluffy loaf without sacrificing the integrity of the cornbread.  I think in the future I will make the cornbread in a 9x9 inch pan, rather than a loaf pan because it would bake faster that way (maybe 35 minutes instead of 55-65) and you will end up with more of that wonderful crust on top of the cornbread (which is always my favorite part).  And I might even through in a few handfuls of fresh corn to just have a little fun with it.  But two huge thumbs up for yet another delicious way to use zucchini.

Recipe after the jump!

Zucchini Cornbread
July 2011

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter plus more for pan
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large zucchini (about 10 ounces)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup medium-grind cornmeal

Position a rack in the middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter a 9x5x3" loaf pan.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until butter solids at bottom of pan turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Scrape butter into a medium bowl. Set aside and let cool. Whisk in eggs and buttermilk.

Trim zucchini ends. Thinly slice five 1/8" rounds from 1 end of zucchini and reserve for garnish. Coarsely grate remaining zucchini. Add to bowl with butter mixture and stir until well blended.

Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cornmeal into a large bowl. Add zucchini mixture; fold just to blend (mixture will be very thick). Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top. Place reserved zucchini slices atop batter down center in a single layer.

Bake bread until golden and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 55-65 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan; let cool completely on a wire rack. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

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