I love corn bread. I think one of the reasons is that it connects me to my Black Sea roots – we love eating flat corn bread made on pan and on stove, together with fried or poached European anchovy. It is a very delicious type of corn bread indeed. This one in this recipe is yet another delicious corn bread, and this time we have a lot more ingredients in it than just corn flour.
This is actually a mixture of bread and what I’d like to call a salty cake. It is fluffy and a bit crumbly. It has lots of ingredients from zucchini to sun-dried tomatoes. It uses a mixture of regular flour and polenta. These are a few parts of a typical salty cake recipe.
In this recipe, you end up with quite a bit of batter which is not suitable for a loaf pan, contrary to my other salty cake recipes. That’s why it is baked in a square cake pan and you get huge, chubby cube slices. You can also bake it in a rectangle (20x30cm) oven dish to get a few more slices which are not that chubby (and to be honest, in many cases this would be better because in this version the slices are REALLY big).
For salty cakes or bread recipes, zucchini is a very nice ingredient to play with. I already have two salty cake and pie recipes with zucchini here and here. Zucchini adds a nice texture, moisture and a bit of colour.
In this bread, apart from polenta, which is coarse corn flour, there are also canned corn pieces. This gives the bread an even more intense corn taste overall. Also, it is always nice to have some extra colours and pieces that create different textures.
I also added “spices” to the title and there are red pepper flakes and black pepper in this bread, however, the measurements I gave are quite modest, making the bread mildly spicy, not much. If you want even spicier bread, you can perfectly increase the amount of spices!
Difficulty: ★★☆ (Medium)
(makes 1 bread in 20x20cm oven dish – alternatively, you can use a 20x30cm oven dish and get more, but smaller – less puffy – slices)
2.5 dl + 5 tsp (or 275 ml) buttermilk (In Finnish: piimä)
2.5 dl (or 175 gr) polenta
270 gr. all-purpose flour (2.5 dl flour is about 155 gr.)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2.5 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
75 gr butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
1 onion, diced
8 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped finely
1/2 big zucchini, grated
5 tbsp canned corn
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease a 20x20cm oven dish and line with baking paper.
2. In a medium bowl, put buttermilk and polenta and mix. Put the mixture in a cool place for 30 minutes.
3. Mix flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and brown sugar in a bowl. Put aside.
4. Melt the butter in a small pan and let it cool slightly.
5. Put vegetable oil in a pan and warm in medium high heat. Add onions and saute the onions for about 5-6 minutes, until they are soft and translucent. Take away from the heat and let it cool a bit.
6. When 30 minutes pass after you make polenta mixture, in a mixing bowl, put eggs and the polenta mixture and beat until they are incorporated.
7. Add cooled melted butter and continue beating.
8. Add cooked and cooled onions, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, corn, red pepper flakes and black pepper and continue mixing until they are well mixed.
9. Add flour mixture and beat just until all ingredients are incorporated. Scrape the sides with a spatula if needed.
10. Transfer the batter to prepared oven dish. Smooth the surface with a spatula. Put in the oven, in medium rack and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the baked bread cool in the dish for about 10 minutes, then take out of the dish and cut into squares. The bread is delicious when it’s served right away and fresh, but it’s also delicious the next day, provided that you keep it in airtight container. Enjoy the bread by itself, or with some butter or some soup.