The Versatile Sweet Corn Cousin to Polenta
What You Need
2 cups milk
3/4 cup sifted cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
3 eggs, separated
Heat milk in double boiler until steaming. Add cornmeal slowly. Stir and cook until mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add salt and butter. Beat egg yolks, stir in a little of the hot mixture to temper, and then pour egg mixture into cornmeal mixture. Allow to cool slightly. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture. Pour into buttered 8 inch square baking dish, and bake in 375 degree oven until puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Serve with butter and black pepper.
Notes: Spoon Bread is an old dish whose origins can be traced way back. It was, for example, a staple in Thomas Jefferson’s house where it was served at 3 meals a day. It is thought to be a descendent of suppawn, a Native American pudding of cornmeal and milk. Virginians are credited by Joseph E. Dabney, author of “Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread, & Scuppernong Wine,” with adding the whipped, separated egg yolks and whites that give it a fine brown crust and the velvety texture that beckons one to eat it with a spoon.
Martin Booe, Los Angeles Times Magazine, January 19, 2003