- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2007

With its origins in the Deep South of the United States, spoonbread is a soft, custardy corn bread that can literally be eaten with a spoon.

Spoonbread makes a perfect brunch dish, especially when accompanied by a generous helping of brightly colored, sparkly flavored summer fruit salsa.

Spoonbread is old-fashioned Americana, and the salsa is newfangled fusion, making a perfect combination that becomes even more of a harmoniously mixed metaphor next to a steaming cafe au lait or hot chocolate, served, French countryside-style, in a bowl.

Classic spoonbread

Some recipes call for separating the eggs, beating the whites until stiff and then folding everything together, much as you would a souffle. This quick version skips all those steps but the results are just as light.

Oil, butter or oil spray for the pan

3 cups milk (low-fat OK)

1 cup white or yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt (a little less if adding cheese)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup minced scallions (about 1 bunch)

Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

4 eggs

1/3 cup grated cheese, sharp or mild (Parmesan, cheddar or Jack), optional

Summer fruit salsa (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease or generously spray an 8-by-8-inch baking pan.

Pour the milk into a medium-sized saucepan, and place it over medium heat until it just reaches the boiling point.

Turn the heat down, and whisk constantly as you sprinkle in the cornmeal.

Cook, whisking, for 5 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat, and stir in the salt, black pepper, scallions and red pepper flakes, if desired.

Beat the eggs well, and stir them into the cornmeal mixture, along with the optional cheese (or not). Mix well, then transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until firm in the center. Cut into squares, and serve hot or warm.

Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Mollie Katzen is author of “Moosewood Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press). To contact her, go to www.molliekatzen.com.


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