Cornbread Waffles showcase crispy crust. Why else bother making them?
Cornbread has long been the bread of choice for suppers filled with beans, tomatoes, and summer vegetables. Before “artisinal” breads migrated from the Euro-immigrant kitchens of the North, cornbread was the only bread with any structure for sopping up dinner plate juices. Who wants soggy white bread or a biscuit dunked in crowder pea juice?
A hot oven in the heat of summer is probably the biggest deterrent to making a skillet of crispy cornbread. To keep the kitchen cool make cornbread waffles instead. Cornbread waffles offer the huge bonus of a crispy crust to soft interior ratio that heavily favors the crust. In fact, cornbread waffles are mostly just crust.
As usual, I recommend using self-rising white cornmeal mix. And as usual, I’ll tell you again to be sure the batter is pourable and not too thick. Thick batter means dry cornbread. And you don’t need the egg — it’s wonderful without it. Add whatever you like to the simple batter—shredded, cheese, crumbled cooked sausage or bacon, bits of ham, corn, green chilies, or nothing at all.
Now think of a cornbread waffle as a sort of Southern bruschetta. Pile it high with your usual favorites or whatever you’d otherwise plop on Tuscan toast– BLT, tomatoes and basil, cheese, barbecue, sliced avocado. A nice pourable batter that easily spreads (with a little help from the spoon) to the edges of the waffle maker.
- 1 egg, optional
- 1/4 cup oil (or a mixture of oil and bacon drippings)
- 1 cup of milk or buttermilk, plus enough water to make a pourable batter
- 2 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
Heat up the waffle iron and spray generously with non-stick cooking spray.
Break the egg in a medium mixing bowl.
Stir in the oil and the milk until well blended. Stir in the cornmeal mix, adding enough water to make a nice creamy, pourable batter.
Other ingredients to stir in include shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled cooked bacon or sausage, chopped green chilies, corn kernels, bits of red bell pepper, or some cracked black pepper.
Spoon the batter over hot waffle iron spreading it out gently.
Cook until dark golden brown.