For a savory brunch, we made cornmeal pancakes from some beautiful Floriani red flint corn my sister grew and ground:
I took a ‘Johnnycakes’ approach, which is more like a thin griddled cornbread or polenta, with no baking powder or flour. The general recipe (made 12 hearty pancakes, for 4 adults + 2 kids with toppings):
- Mix 2 cups of cornmeal, 2 cups boiling water, and 1 tsp salt, stir and cover for 10 minutes, to let the hot water soften the cornmeal
- Stir in between 1/2 and 3/4 cup milk, gradually, stopping when it’s a very thick but spreadable batter (when I did this a few months ago and added too much milk, the batter was too runny and I ended up making thin crisp corn wafers).
- Mix in 1.5 Tbsp olive oil
- Cook in an oiled skillet on medium-low to medium heat, flipping when golden brown. I found it took about 4 minutes per side.
I made test pancakes with and without egg in the batter, and the one with egg and a bit more liquid made a thinner, smoother, more traditional-looking pancake (on the right)– but while both were delicious we preferred the texture of the eggless, thicker version on the left:
We served them with a buffet of savory toppings– black-and-white orca beans, cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs, avocado, and a collection of beautiful greens from the back yard ‘winter garden’ (which in Oakland has been just hugging the edge of frost at night)– mizuna, broccoli greens, kale, arugula, daikon greens, and some oregano and thyme, sautéed with caramelized red onions and garlic. The daikon greens have been a surprisingly good addition to many sautés– they give off a puff of mustardy spice when you first start to cook them but then mellow out.
This quick cell phone photo of a plate doesn’t make it look especially appealing, but this was a delicious (and relatively simple) combination I’d make again: