Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cornbread Florentine Benny

Cornbread Florentine with sour cream hollandiase. © Ryan Schierling
One of my favorite breakfasts is Eggs Florentine with hash browns. I developed this strong affection when we were in Seattle and lived walking distance from The Shanty Cafe, whose straight-forward Florentine Benny and hash browns were delicious comfort on many a chilly Northwest morning. I'll resist making this a diatribe about the rarity of finding really good, crispy, diner-style shredded hash browns in this town (no, really, it's invariably "home fries" in these parts), because today I'm all about sharing another way to enjoy runny eggs and spinach greens.

There's something all sparkly-sawdust about living in Austin that causes us to eventually give all of our favorite dishes a Texas twist. In this instance, a not-too-sweet cornbread finds its place in lieu of the traditional English muffin, and the hollandaise is modified to include a touch of lime and sour cream.

The cornbread recipe is my adaptation of “Yankee Corn Bread” from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads, but using a hot cast iron skillet method for baking. I omitted the bacon, of course. I also added some masa harina (a type of corn flour used for making tortillas and tamales) – because if you know me well, you know that I am loath to bake anything containing corn that doesn't include a bit of masa harina for the delicious flavor it imparts. Hell, I even put it in my pizza dough. Ahem... I've also reduced the amount of sugar considerably, because I don't need or want a sweet cornbread for this preparation, and the addition of frozen corn kernels naturally adds a bit of sweetness. And – to digress for the second time in this paragraph – this cornbread is also pretty awesome to use for making stuffing/dressing during the holidays.

We like the Cornbread Florentine with my Southwest Sour Cream Hollandaise because, well, how can you not offer up a bit of the rich yolky goodness that makes poached eggs happy the world around. This is essentially a blender hollandaise with lime juice in lieu of some of the lemon and sour cream in place of some of the butter. It's a little "softer" than the traditional variety and compliments the cornbread. Ryan generally doesn't dig regular hollandaise sauce, but this one he finds delightful. Go figure. That said, if busting out the blender seems like too much of an stretch on a given morning, I won't hesitate for a second to just use plain ol' sour cream and a good hot sauce drift. I assure you it is really quite good both ways.

We typically make this with cornbread that was baked the night before, so it makes for a relatively quick and easy breakfast. 

Cornbread Florentine Benny

1 slice Julie's Skillet Cornbread (recipe below), cut in half – top from bottom
1 egg, poached [or gently cooked over-easy – so long as you've got that runny yolk]
1 large handful fresh spinach, wilted in skillet with a touch of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt
Top with Southwest Sour Cream Hollandaise (recipe below) [or just sour cream]
A drizzle of hot sauce, green or red

Southwest Sour Cream Hollandaise

3 egg yolks
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 cup sour cream
Pinch of salt
A dash or two of ground cayenne pepper

Melt the butter and get very hot (just bubbling). Put the egg yolks into a blender and pulse once. Turn on blender and pour the hot, melted butter in a slow and steady stream into the egg yolk mixture. (You may want to have a towel handy to block any splash-out from the hole in the blender lid.) The eggs should thicken almost immediately. Pour the lemon and lime juice in a slowly steady stream after all of the butter has been poured. Stop blender and  add a dash or two of cayenne and a good pinch of salt. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then add the sour cream and pulse until thoroughly incorporated.

Skillet Cornbread
(Adapted from “Yankee Corn Bread” from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup masa harina
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup corn meal (white or yellow - I use 1/2 cup of each)
1 cup frozen corn kernels (whole kernels or food processed into smaller bits)
1/2 cup (one stick, salted) butter, melted
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup real sour cream

Preheat one 9” round cast iron skillet in 425-degree oven.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Stir in the frozen corn. 

In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a fork and add the milk, sour cream and melted butter. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix together with a wooden spoon or spatula only to moisten the batter. Do not over stir. Allow the batter to rest in the mixing bowl while you prepare the cast iron skillet.

Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 400º. Use a pastry brush to distribute a teaspoon or two of olive oil in the pan. Pour the batter into the hot skillet and level gently with a spoon. Drizzle the top of the batter with a little bit of olive oil.

Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. Test for doneness with a wooden toothpick; a toothpick in the center should come out clean. Do not over bake or the cornbread will be dry.

This makes a light but moist cornbread. Cut in pan and serve immediately, or cool for a few minutes and turn out onto a cooling rack or wood cutting board. For overnight storage, cool completely and wrap well in foil.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome comments. Thanks for your patience as we moderate to avoid spam and other internet foolishness.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...