See these strawberries? They're not from Ontario. They are from California, where I imagine it must be a nice place to be these days with an abundance of local produce spilling off the stands at any of the local farmer's market.
But here in Ontario our "these-would-be-nice-days-if-it-was-November" rainy skies combined with the "when-did-we- move-to-Texas" heat have ensured that we haven't seen local berries yet. In fact, the stores just started stocking Ontario asparagus last week, which makes me feel like I did when I lived in Europe, and I had to wait six months for the hottest movie to make it's away across the pond so I could finally see it.
I'm not going to let the same thing happen with my berries. So I'm buying them in all their shipped-from-faraway-places glory and loving every bite. I do realize that in your eyes this might make me akin to a pirating DVD downloader, but what I can say? If they aren't making them here then I can't buy them, and I can only eat apples for so many months.
My imported berries have made their way into salads, pitas stuffed with beef (um, thanks, Ben), morning smoothies and now they've found their way into a seasonal favourite: skillet cornbread. In a moment of craziness I grabbed some mint from my nearby garden and added it in prior to baking. Seems now like it wasn't such a bad idea after all, and I take comfort in knowing that something in the dish was locally grown. I think.
Skillet Cornbread with Strawberries and Mint
I love traditional cornbread in all it's white floury and sugar laden goodness, but this recipe is a little different. The all-purpose flour is replace with whole wheat and the sugar is swapped out for a little honey instead. Feel free to replace the mint with basil, or any other fresh herb of your liking, and definitely consider adding a large dollop of slightly sweetened whipped cream to the top of your slice.
- 1 cup medium grain cornmeal
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons mint, chopped (about 12 leaves)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup diced strawberries
Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat a 10″ cast-iron skillet in the oven for 10 minutes.
Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and mint in a large bowl to blend.
In a separate bowl combine the milk, honey and egg.
Remove the skillet from the oven and add the butter. Swirl around the pan until melted. Pour all the butter into the egg mixture.
Add the egg mixture to the cornmeal mixture. Add the strawberries. Do not over mix - the batter will be wet and runny.
Pour the batter into the skillet. Bake until the edges are browned and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in skillet for 10 minutes. Serve directly from the pan.