Cornbread, warm, right out of the oven: It's something we find ourselves eagerly cutting off squares of and eating straight from the pan, with a knifeful of soft butter for slathering onto each bite. It goes wonderfully with summer BBQs and Thanksgiving dinners alike. But no matter what time of year we make it, it all too soon it becomes a very different, much less joyous affair—bordering on tasteless, dry, and crumbly. What a shame.
Some years ago, community member, Aargersi, made a big batch of cornbread—and asked our community what they like to do with their leftovers. She mentioned that she normally freezes any extras for stuffing and other goodies, but was looking for some new ideas to use it even after it went to the dry, sorry state of no return. The community's suggestions were helpful to us then, and have stuck with us to this day. So, in honor of cornbread season officially beginning, here's a handful of ways to use them.
Keep it simple:
- Pegeen believes that all day-old cornbread needs is a little T.L.C. Revive it by toasting and slathering it with butter—or, as saragrad prefers, with jam—and call it breakfast.
- Blitz it into bread crumbs using your food processor (here's an overview on how to do it) to use anywhere you'd call in for fine crumbs.
- Fry up some jiggly-topped, custardy-sided eggs in buttery bread crumbs for this take on the classic from the Zuni Café Cookbook. Or take a cue from this recipe: mash your bread crumbs together with salty, umami-rich anchovies, and serve 'em up with jammy soft-boiled eggs and asparagus. And last, because the egg-greens-bread crumb combo is unbeatable, this recipe with tender braised kale and crispy bread crumbs will keep you warm all winter long.
- Dessert loves bread crumbs, too—especially this rhubarb-based cake with lots and lots of butter.
- Turn cornbread into croutons, as Susan W and EmilyC suggest, to toss in any salad, but in particular, this one.
- For a breakfast of champions, look no further than...mush! Seriously. Some tangy coconut buttermilk, dried fruit, vanilla, and honey takes the stuff to a new level.
- This cornbread and heirloom tomato panzanella is an excellent vehicle for sweet, juicy summery produce and sharp balsamic vinegar. Day-old cornbread soaks up all the flavors wonderfully.
- In the fall and winter especially, Pegeen also suggests tossing toasted cubes with roasted vegetables of all sorts, or using them as a bed for roast chicken.
Use the crumble to your advantage:
- ChezHenry likes to turn dry cornbread into an easy fruit crisp or crumble topping by substituting it for the flour in any recipe. He recommends baking the fruit without the topping for the first half of baking before adding the cornbread mixture, to prevent it from drying out too much, since the cornbread has already been cooked through once.
- Crumble it into a variant on corn pudding. Amysarah points to her recipe for corn pudding, and suggests substituting the cornmeal with crumbled, dry cornbread.
- Or use cornbread to thicken soup. Missmertz stirs the crumbles into chili as it cooks.
What do you do with an excess of cornbread? Tell us in the comments or join in the conversation over on the Hotline!
Sausage and Cornbread Salad photo by Alpha Smoot, all other photos by James Ransom
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