This classic and often forgotten quintessential Southern side goes with just about any Southern main dish such as baked or fried chicken, fried fish, turkey, pork chops, etc. This is sure to impress anyone at the family reunion, potluck or any gathering.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup chopped Vidalia or sweet onion
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, grated on a rasp or finely minced
- 3/4 cup cornmeal, preferably Indian Head
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 Roma or plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3/4 cup corn kernels (fresh, canned and drained or frozen no need to defrost)
- 2 scallions, finely chopped (white and green parts)
- Unsalted butter, for greasing pan
For the veggies:
In a large cast iron pan add the butter, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook while stirring to keep onions from browning until everything is cooked through and tender, about 10 minutes. Pour into a large bowl and set aside.
For the cornmeal:
1. In a pot over medium heat, add the cornmeal, milk and buttermilk. Raise heat to a simmer while whisking to keep cornmeal from clumping or sticking in the corners. When liquid begins to thicken, turn off heat and continue to stir until it's the texture of loose grits.
2. In a small, steady bowl, whisk the eggs while very slowly adding a bit of the cornmeal mixture. Whisk vigorously to combine. Feel the outside of the bowl: If it's not warm, add a bit more of the cornmeal mixture while continuously whisking and keep adding the cornmeal mixture until the eggs are just as warm as the cornmeal mixture.
3. Then, reversing order, slowly pour the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture, whisking vigorously.
4. Pour cornmeal and egg mixture into the large bowl of cooked veggies. Add the tomatoes, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, corn and scallions. Stir to combine.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9- by 13-inch dish or a large cast iron pan. Pour in the batter and bake in the oven until edges are golden brown and the center is set, about 25-30 minutes.