Makes 6 servings
Spoon bread is soft and fluffy, much like a soufflé, but sturdier and more filling. For a substantial vegetarian meal, serve hot with a mess of cooked greens (broccoli rabe, kale, collards, Swiss chard, dandelions or mustard greens are all good choices) and a ripe-tomato salad. Spoon bread is also delicious served with a mixture of sautéed mushrooms. I like this with Parmesan, but almost any flavorful cheese, such as cheddar, fon tina or Gruyere, can be used.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup diced onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup yellow cornmeal
(the finer the cornmeal, the lighter the spoon bread)
3 cups cold water
(or half water and half milk)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese,
or more to taste
3 large eggs, separated
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
1. Melt the butter in a large, wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until golden, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in the cornmeal until it is coated with the butter. Gradually add the water (or water and milk) stirring constantly, then add the salt and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, until the cornmeal thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pan, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Let stand until warm, not hot.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a 1-1/2-quart soufflé dish or small, deep casserole.
3. Place the egg yolks in a large bowl; whisk to blend. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir a little of the hot cornmeal mixture into the yolks, then stir in the remaining cornmeal. Add a grinding of pepper, if desired.
4. In a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently but thoroughly fold the whites into the cornmeal mixture in three additions.
5. Spoon into the prepared dish and bake until the top is slightly puffed and browned, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve at once.
The Good Egg:
More than 200 Fresh Approaches
from Soup to Dessert
By Marie Simmons
Houghton Mifflin Company, May 2000
480 pages, hardcover, two colors throughout
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created June 2000
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