Few things make for a better dinner during the warmest days of summer than a refreshing salad. But sometimes those leafy greens need a little extra umph and a carby side dish — like this chile cornbread — always does the trick.
Quick breads are the easiest way to take your dinner to the next level. As the name implies, quick breads are quick to make compared to yeast-risen breads. This one puts summer's beautiful bounty to use by incorporating zucchini and tomatoes.
It's important to prep the veggies correctly when preparing the dish, as both tomatoes and zucchini have high water content. To avoid soggy bread, you'll need to give the chopped tomatoes time to drain before adding them to the batter mixture. Grating the zucchini instead of dicing it will add a delightfully sweet and slightly bitter flavor to the cornbread without pumping it with excess moisture.
After preparing the batter and adding it to a pan, just bake the dish for 25 to 30 minutes until it's golden brown.
The vegetables add a delicate sweetness to the cornbread while the chile powder gives it a welcome kick. It pairs well with just about anything, from the aforementions salads to slow cooker chili to ribs, grilled chicken or any other fabulous grilled dinner dish.
This recipe is by Robin Mather was originally published in The Chicago Tribune.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter plus more for pan
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 large meaty tomatoes, such as roma
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large zucchini (about 10 ounces), to yield about 2 cups grated
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon each: baking powder, chile powder
3/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup medium-grind cornmeal
Step 1: Position a rack in the middle of the oven; heat to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-by-8-inch baking pan.
Step 2: Dice the 2 tomatoes. Salt generously and place them in a sieve; let drain, 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 3: Melt ½ cup butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Whisk in 2 eggs and 1/2 up buttermilk.
Step 4: Grate 1 zucchini. Add to bowl with butter mixture; stir until well blended. Stir in diced tomatoes.
Step 5: Sift 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda into a separate bowl. Whisk in 1 teaspoon chile powder and 1 cup cornmeal. Add zucchini mixture; fold just to blend. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top.
Step 6: Bake bread until golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan, 10 minutes. Remove from pan; let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.