Featured Recipe from Sam Beall: Skillet Corn Bread
Corn bread was the quintessential daily bread for mountain families, who often made it at least once daily so there was always some about to be eaten in many ways, fresh or leftover. When hot from the oven, southern corn bread is as moist as it'll be, and full of corn flavor with nary a touch of sweet beyond what the corn gives.
Fresh corn bread was served as an accompaniment to a meal such as beans and greens, contributing both flavor and function, as it could be used to soak up every last lick of pot likker. Cold leftover corn bread might be served for dessert or, even better, breakfast the next day, perhaps as "bread and milk," crumbled right into a tall glass of buttermilk and seasoned to taste with a few grinds of black pepper or a spoonful of sorghum. Or the bread can be split, fried cut-side-down on the griddle, and then drizzled with sorghum and buttermilk. This is one of my favorite breakfasts!
- 3 tablespoons bacon fat, or 1-1/2 tablespoons each unsalted butter and vegetable oil
- 2 cups (11 ounces) stone-ground yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large egg
- 1-1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 450°F. If using bacon fat, place it in a well-seasoned 9-inch cast-iron skillet and place the skillet in the oven as it preheats. If using butter and oil, wait until step 3 to heat the skillet.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk.
If using butter and oil, heat them in the skillet over high heat until the oil is shimmering.
Pour the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture and stir just until blended and smooth. Be prepared to immediately transfer the batter into a hot skillet.
Remove the hot skillet from the oven or from the stovetop. Carefully scrape the batter into the skillet. The batter should sizzle vigorously around the edges.
Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the corn bread is firm and golden brown on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.
“The sights, the sounds, the smells, the terroir… like the ingredients in a fine bourbon, those which comprise Blackberry Farm are, in essence, all about the earth. Sam Beall and I agree that the old way is often the best way. The luxurious journey through the pages of this book remind us that the purest, simplest ingredients thoughtfully and lovingly put together can result in nectar on your palate. Ask it of nature and ye shall receive!”
– Julian Van Winkle, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery
"In a perfect world, every American would have a chance to experience Blackberry Farm and taste the changing seasons. This book is the next best thing; a visit to a vanishing America that is being lovingly preserved in the Great Smoky Mountains. "
"I can't imagine a more perfect celebration of mountain cuisine. This elegant cookbook stirs memories of my grandmothers cooking food they had grown and preserved on wood burning cook stoves. It provides a glimpse of the incredible effort that makes Blackberry Farm truly special. It is the perfect marriage of authentic southern food indigenous to our mountains with the refined Foothills Cuisine that has elevated Blackberry Farm to the ultimate dining experience in America."
–Allan Benton, Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams
“Sounds rustic, but Blackberry Farm is a luxury resort in Tennessee known for farm-to-table food. Marbled Potato Salad With Arugula Pesto is a work of art.”
-Washington Post’s Top Cookbooks of 2012
“Nothing has us more ready for a rustic fall feast than the new cookbook The Foothills Cuisine of Blackberry Farm. Inside you’ll find seasonal dishes (such as Fried Catfish and Cucumber Slaw), gorgeous photography, and even lessons on how to make artisanal cured meats and cheese, all from experts at the Tennessee foodie destination.”
“A trip to Blackberry Farm has always been on our wish list....The resort’s new cookbook, The Foothills Cuisine of Blackberry Farm, celebrates life on the rolling property in East Tennessee....Lush photographs....The recipes follow a strict farm-to-table philosophy, with a dose of Southern charm (moonshine cherries, anyone?)....If we can’t get to Blackberry Farm soon, at least we can have a bite of it.”