Basic Corn Bread

Makes one 9-inch round loaf

Most self-respecting Southerners wouldn’t admit to adding sugar to corn bread, but it’s both acceptable and good in New Orleans. Grand-daddy never put sugar in his, but I find that I can omit the sugar and still have it taste right only when I use a fine-ground white organic cornmeal such as that milled by my friends at McEwen’s in Wilsonville, Alabama. Make sure the skillet is so hot that the batter begins to fry when you pour it into the pan. And don’t fret about the calories. Corn bread is about love – you can diet tomorrow.

3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
1 cup white cornmeal, organic if possible
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Put the bacon fat into medium (about 9-inch-diameter) cast iron skillet. Put the skillet into the oven and preheat oven to 425°.

Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cayenne in a large mixing bowl.

Put the eggs, milk, and melted butter into a small bowl and mix well.

Pour the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture, stirring until just combined.

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and pour the batter into the skillet. Return the skillet to the oven and bake the corn bread until it is a deep, golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.