I always liked recipes that can be prepared anywhere. Simple stuff. That kind of thing that only your father would cook while camping, or if in charge of the stove when mother is out! My babbo has always been the “fire and grill” cook in the house, always finding an excuse for lighting a fireplace, the pit, or the bread oven… Most of the things we used to cook together were improvised (that’s how it felt to me at least), he had his way, and I just wanted to play with fire!
He has always been proud of family’s corn bread, an heirloom recipe his mother had brought back to Florence from traveling to the US after WWII. So my father kept alive the tradition, and at times baked it directly on the fire or in the bread oven, never wanted to listed to my mom when she was trying to explain him that it could be done in the kitchen’s electric oven as well: “Leonardo, do you really have to light a fire in an August night?” My father would just grin, with a cigar hanging from his mouth and a glass of wine in his hand. While I was probably setting up things on fire all around.
His corn bread was fantastic, I have not had it in a while, so I decided to go down memory lane with this one.
ssshhhh, my father does not know I added pancetta to his recipe.
Prep: 10 minutes / Cook: 30 minutes / Serves: 6-8
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup cornmeal
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 ounces of pancetta, diced
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
1Mix the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
1In a 9-inch cast iron skillet, combine the pancetta, olive oil and butter and cook until the pancetta is nice and crispy, about 5 minutes, over medium heat. Remove from the heat and allow the pan to cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the eggs and buttermilk and whisk until smooth.
1Slowly drizzle the pancetta renderings into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, until all the oil is added. Add the pancetta that didn’t fall into the egg mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.
1Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until a thick batter forms. Pour the batter into the same skillet used to cook the pancetta. Cover the skillet with a double layer of aluminum foil. Place skillet over a medium heat if using stovetop, or an indirect heat if working on a camp fire for 20-30 minutes, until the sides are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a wedge comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
1At Home: Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until baked through.