Herbed ‘Spider’ Cornbread
This is an unusual variation on cornbread, with a creamy layer that comes from pouring milk over the bread partway through cooking. It’s delicious served on its own, but it’s also the basis of the ‘spider’ cornbread dressing recipe that follows. Originally this cornbread was made in a spider pan—a black cast-iron skillet with three “legs” made for setting into the coals of a hearth—but you can use a regular cast-iron skillet or any thick, ovenproof skillet (and a modern oven).
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1-1/2 cups cornmeal
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 tablespoons finely minced fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
Preheat your oven to 350° and set a rack to the middle position.
Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add the buttermilk and stir until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 cup of the regular milk, and the melted butter, leaving a touch of butter to grease the skillet. Add the pepper, chives, parsley, and rosemary, and mix until smooth.
Pour the batter into the greased skillet and bake 12 minutes. Pour the remaining 1 cup of milk on top, and continue baking until the cornbread is firm, about 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Serve hot or at room temperature, cut into wedges.