I love to take recipes that are familiar or special to me and put a local, southern twist on them. The results call to mind the flavor combinations that I love but also highlights the wonderful bounty that is present around me. This recipe is my take on an Italian bread salad, or panzanella. I've kept the recipe simple here, but feel free to bulk it out further by adding marinated squash or zucchini, a few handfuls of chopped greens, roasted eggplant, some fresh corn or whatever else you have to hand.
4 c. leftover cornbread cut into 1" cubes, about 1/2 of an 8X8" or 9" round pan (use your favorite or the recipe that follows)
2 large tomatoes or tomatoes and a mix of other vegetables--enough for about 6 c. (see headnote), cut into bite sized chunks
1 handful of basil, roughly torn into pieces
1/2 small red onion, sliced paper thin
4 T. olive oil, divided
1 T. balsamic or sherry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and drizzle over 1 T. olive oil. Gently toss the bread cubes to coat in the oil and bake until toasted, about 15 minutes depending on the moisture in your cornbread.
Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining olive oil with the vinegar and salt and pepper. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes and onion with the oil and vinegar.
When the cornbread is nicely golden, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Gently combine the warm cornbread with the tomato mixture, sprinkle over the basil and serve.
1.5 c. Riverview Farm cornmeal
1 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 T. sugar
2 c. buttermilk (or cow's milk/non-dairy milk whisked with 2 t. cider vinegar and allowed to stand for 5 minutes)
1/3 c. coconut oil (or avocado, canola, etc.)
Preheat your oven to 400. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk, then add the milk and oil and mix until just combined. Pour the ingredients into a prepared pan (either an 8X8" glass dish, greased with coconut oil or butter, or your favorite cast iron skillet, preheated) and bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
Additional serving suggestions.
You know what I'm going to say. Put an egg on it!
This makes a perfect brunch with a sunny side up egg, fried in olive oil until the edges are lacy and crispy. I add a little fresh, red chili to mine as well.
Add some sliced, cured chorizo and a cup of cooked cannellini beans for a heartier meal.
For a richer meal, sprinkle in some Kira's Kids goat's cheese, or Sequatchie Cove Creamery blue cheese.