With holiday season upon us, it’s all about entertaining with delicious, impressive dishes. We’ve partnered with Vivian Howard of A Chef’s Life to bring you recipes, ideas, and tips inspired by the season.
Spoonbread is not bread at all, and this recipe is not a traditional spoonbread. So there you go -- get confused.
Seriously though, spoonbread is a pudding based on cornmeal and eggs. It’s often quite moist, sometimes dense and generally very rich. This one is a pudding based on cornmeal and eggs, but the egg whites are whipped, so the end result is airy and more akin to a savory soufflé than a pudding. Like a soufflé, spoonbread is a great canvas for other flavors. In fact, anything that complements the subdued mineral sweet of cornmeal will shine in this versatile side. I’ve chosen corn kernels to echo spoonbread’s background flavor and lend a pleasing pop of texture to an otherwise smooth pudding. And because I hate sweet corn dishes that straddle the line between side and dessert, I offset corn’s sugary nature with two cheeses: Parmigiano-Reggiano and Fontina, which add umami and a necessary savory depth of flavor.
Toward the end of baking, this thing puffs up proud, pushing its golden top into a chiseled landscape of peaks and valleys. Its exit out of the oven is an event, but don’t rush to serve it. You’ll never make it happen fast enough, so save yourself the grief. Instead, watch the air-pumped spectacle slump in real time and dig into something very delicious but not as pretty as it was seconds before.