9-inch round loaf
(¾ ounce) popped popcorn, ideally unsalted
corn kernels, fresh or thawed frozen
1 ¾ c
(9½ ounces) cornmeal, preferably medium-ground stone-ground
1 ½ tsp
fine sea salt or kosher salt, depending on if the popcorn is salted*
Use up to 1 teaspoon if needed.*Show Note
eggs, lightly beaten
1 ⅓ c
(2 ounces) unsalted butter, in one piece, plus more for serving if desired
This cornbread honors corn, times three. Cornmeal is there, of course, in addition to sweet corn kernels and the startling bonus of pulverized popcorn. Use unsalted store-bought popcorn, or pop your own popcorn. If the latter is your game plan, you will need 2 tablespoons of unpopped kernels to obtain the recipe’s required 2 cups of popped kernels.
Adapted from All About Dinner by Molly Stevens
- Heat the oven to 375℉ convection (400℉ non-convection), with a rack near the center.
- Make the popcorn flour: Put the popcorn in a food processor and process until you have a coarse meal that resembles a mix of regular and pearl couscous, about 1 minute. You can also use a blender, but unless it’s commercial-grade, grind the popcorn 1 cup at a time.
- If using thawed corn kernels, spread them on a towel to dry; this prevents adding extra moisture to the batter.
- Combine the popcorn flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a wide bowl. Add salt: ½ teaspoon if you started with salted popcorn, 1 teaspoon if you used unsalted. Whisk to combine. Whisk together the eggs and buttermilk in a separate bowl.
- Put the butter, in one piece, in a 9-inch cast iron skillet (or 9-inch cake pan) and slide into the oven. Heat until the butter has fully melted and is just beginning to brown (it should smell faintly toasty), 6 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir with a spatula, just to combine. Fold in the corn kernels.
- Remove the skillet (or cake pan) from the oven and pour the melted butter into the batter; don’t bother to scrape the skillet—any butter remaining will work to grease the pan. Set the skillet on a heatproof surface while you quickly stir the batter to incorporate the butter, then immediately pour the batter into the hot skillet. Bake until the top of the cornbread is firm and golden, the edges are starting to pull away from the sides of the skillet, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
- Let the cornbread cool for about 10 minutes before flipping out of the pan and cutting into wedges. Store any leftovers, wrapped in reusable food wrap or plastic, at room temperature for a day or so.
Scott Hocker is a writer, editor, recipe developer, cookbook author, and content and editorial consultant. He has worked in magazines, kitchens, newsletters, restaurants and a bunch of other environments he can’t remember right now. He has also been the editor in chief of both liquor.com and Tasting Table.