Ever since I was in college, when I would go home to visit my mom, at some point I would wind up rummaging through her pantry scavenging for groceries. It wasn't that I couldn't easily go to the store to buy my own, it was just that whatever already lined her shelves seemed pratical and necessary. I could rest assured that all of the brands were high-quality and none of the expiration dates would have lapsed (though you would have never suspected my mother's quality-control vigilance based on the 18-month old salad dressing that lived in our refrigerator once. In all fairness, it was a fluke incident. You could probably eat off her kitchen floors).
Even though I live on my own now and can afford my own groceries
most of the time, it seems that just about every visit home ends with a good long stare in the cabinet that seldom leads me walking out the door empty handed. Last time I was home, one of my prizes wound up being a half-empty container of coarse cornmeal, that she claimed she had bought for one recipe but likely would never use again.
Since I pride myself and my creativity I took it, assuming that I would concoct something genius with it. When you have cornmeal, cornbread seems like an obvious choice, but I didn't want this to be just ANY old cornbread. I had a fat, white onion in the fridge that was screaming to be caramelized - and really, who am I not to listen to an onion?
The best part of this bread is that you don't need any extra bowls - just one skillet for the wet ingredients and a small bowl or dish for the dry ones. It makes clean up easier so you can speed through the dishes in no time flat.
Skillet Cornbread with Caramelized Onions
1/4 pound butter + 2 tbsp.
1 medium-large white onion, chopped in 1/4 - 1/2 inch pieces
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a skillet, heat only 2 Tbsp. of butter and add onions, sauteeing until they begin to turn brown and caramelize. At this point they may gronw pleasantly fragrant.
2. Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs to skillet and beat until well blended. You'll want to have both eggs ready and crack them very quickly - the mixture is hot enough that the eggs could begin to cook.
3. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.