The New Yorker in me wanted to giggle – I didn’t expect to see the big blue ribbon on the sleek, black Staub casserole – but the foodie in me couldn’t wait to lift the lid. Inside was some of the best cornbread I’d had in a long time. But clearly, as the ribbon suggested, I wasn’t the first the person to find the cornbread great: It had won Best of Show at the West Virginia State Fair. When I pulled off the ribbon, I found that the recipe for the cornbread had been conveniently stuck to the back of it. Without asking if anyone else at the table wanted it – sorry, guys – I pocketed it. I also asked Joel, a native West Virginian, who Cathy Justice was. Turns out she’s Mrs. Jim Justice and Mr. Jim Justice is The Greenbrier’s new owner.
When the cornbread went on the menu, Mrs. Justice gave a little tutorial in The Greenbrier’s perfect demonstration kitchen (it’s where I gave my class). Here she is showing Chef Rosendale her technique. I didn’t have the benefit of a personal session with Cathy Justice, but I did make the cornbread last night. It’s as simple a recipe as you’ll find, but it turns out a terrific, unusually tender cornbread.
Knowing you, my dear readers, you’re bound to play around with the recipe. If you tweak and play, write and tell you what you did.
Here’s last night’s bread and here’s the recipe:
CATHY JUSTICE’S BEST OF SHOW BLUE RIBBON CORNBREAD
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/16 teaspoon salt (I used 1/2 tsp.)
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Prepare an 8”-x-8” oiled pan. (I used a nonstick pan.)
Mix all dry ingredients. (I whisked the ingredients together.)
Add liquids. (I whisked all the liquid ingredients together until they were creamy smooth and then I poured them over the dry ingredients.)
Stir softly to mix.
Bake for 30 minutes. (The cornbread rose and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread came out clean.)