Alden's Grandmother's Cornbread Kicked Up
- ROASTED GARLIC:
- 1/4 cup bacon grease (or vegetable oil or shortening)
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons minced jalapeño
- 3 heads garlic
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
Preheat the oven temperature to 450 degrees.
Place the bacon grease in a 10-inch black cast-iron skillet and swirl to coat the sides and bottom evenly. Place skillet in the oven to heat.
In a bowl, combine the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper and mix well.
In another small bowl combine the buttermilk, egg, melted butter, jalapeños, and mashed roasted garlic. Add to dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Remove the hot skillet from the oven and carefully swirl to evenly distribute the hot grease. Quickly pour the cornmeal batter into the skillet and bake until firm and golden brown on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges and serve hot, with butter on the side.
For the Roasted Garlic: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil.
Cut the top quarter from the heads of garlic and place, cut-side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle each with oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Turn the garlic cut-sides down, and roast until the cloves are soft and golden brown, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Squeeze each head of garlic, gently pressing with your fingers to expel the cloves into a bowl. Mash with a fork and blend thoroughly.
This recipe yields 6 to 8 servings.