Crispy Corn Bread

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1 tbsp lard or unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups stone-ground cornmeal (yellow or white)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups whole or lowfat buttermilk
2 tbsp unsalted butter


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Grease a 12-inch skillet with the lard (or butter), leaving any excess in the pan, and place it in the oven.
In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.  In a medium bowl, whisk the egg until frothy and then whisk in the buttermilk.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix thoroughly.  Melt the butter in a small skillet over low heat, and whisk the butter into the batter.
When the fat in the large skillet is smoking, carefully remove the skillet from the oven and swirl the fat around to coat the bottom and the sides of the pan evenly.  Pour the batter into the skillet; it should sizzle alluringly.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until the top of the bread is golen brown and the edge has pulled away from the side of the skillet.  
Remove from the oven.