We order stuff in bulk, so sometimes I construct recipes around emptying perishables from the fridge. We ordered a whole case of Pecorino Romano a while back, and unless I sit around with a block chewing slices daily, we’re not going to get through it before it becomes inedible.
This is a good way to get the all the marginal cheese and butter in your home into a convenient edible wheel that seems remarkably light and flavorful for something that will just flat out kill your ass if you don’t have kids to shovel a portion of it into.
I cribbed it partially from a Mexican cornbread recipe from someone who wouldn’t know cornbread if they were choking on it. It originally called for a cup of sugar. I will say this once. Cornmeal is a concentrated carbohydrate. It doesn’t need sugar. If you need that much sugar, you can artfully arrange some cubes of it beside your nice cornbread as a side dish.
As an elderly friend once told me “My mama put sugar in the cornbread once, during the depression. All us children fought over it till we were bloody cause we thought it was cake.” So to belabor the point: Cornbread=no sugar. 1 to 2 and 1/2 cups sugar=a cornflour dessert that will bloody your children.

Pecor-Mex cornbread (ought to serve twenty, but we’ll have it eaten by tomorrow evening)
2 cups high gluten or all purpose flour
2 cups fine yellow cornmeal
6 teaspoons baking powder
6 large eggs
2 sticks butter
3/4 cup yogurt or buttermilk plus half a cup or so for wetting the mix
1 lb. Pecorino Romano, grated
1/2 cup of salsa or pico de gallo (this is the Mexican part)

You’ll need a heavy 13in. diameter frying pan or similarly unwieldy bronze age cookware. Put the sticks of butter in the frying pan, put the pan in the oven, and preheat it to 400f. While the butter is melting, beat the eggs, add the salsa, yogurt or buttermilk.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients with a wire whisk, add the grated cheese to the dry ingredients, and whisk again.
Check the butter periodically to make sure it isn’t burning. Once it’s melted, pour it into the egg, yogurt, salsa mixture. Whisk thoroughly.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, adding a little milk, if necessary, until (as they say on bags of concrete) you achieve a plastic mass. Do not overmix.
Return this to the giant frying pan, and return this to the oven.
Initially you want to set the timer for fifteen minutes.
At the end of this fifteen minutes check the progress. The butter will be saturating the bread, and steaming slightly. Put another fifteen minutes on the timer.
At the end of this phase, the bread will have started to brown. Reduce your oven to 300f and set the timer for an additional ten minutes. By this time, the cornbread will be a straw color, and the edges should have pulled away from the pan.
Cool for five minutes and serve with butterbeans cooked down to a snotgreen gravy, sliced fresh tomatoes and a glass of cold buttermilk, or if you must, a couple of chocolate truffles sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.

Advertisements