On a purely esthetic level, crimson and green slices of deliciousness entice the vision, like appliqued motifs on yards of crisp organdy. On a deeper level, the crustiness of cornmeal ingrained with earthy spices, the sweet-sourness of yogurt coupled with the brio of Serrano, the gooey esprit of melted cheese cutting ribbony strands through these savory cups freckled with corn kernels that are just as good inside-out or upside-down..beckon the epicure’s senses with enigmatic and aromatic aura. So go ahead, ogle before you’re set to gobble-gobble..
Upside-down Crusty Cornbread
(Makes 14 muffin-sized servings)
½ pint cherry tomatoes
2 Jalapenos or Serrano chillies
2 Tablepoons flax seeds powder + 2 Tablespoons water (or use 1 egg)
Dry ingredients -
- 1 Cup cornmeal
- ¾ Cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Teaspoons baking powder
- ½ Teaspoon baking soda
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 1 Teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ Teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ Teaspoon red chilli powder/cayenne
Wet ingredients -
- 1 Cup plain yogurt/curd
- ¼ Cup water
- ¼ Cup melted butter
½ Cup corn kernels, fresh or, thawed and drained if frozen
1 Cup shredded cheese – we used Pepper Jack
Preheat the oven to 400°F/ 180°C. Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and thinly slice the chillies. Grease or spray 14 cups in 2 muffin pans or 12 cups and another small baking dish. Line the bottoms with the tomatoes and chillies – the tomatoes with the cut side down.
Place the pans into the hot oven to preheat for about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the flax powder and 2 Tablespoons water and set aside, if you are not using the egg.
Sieve together all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. In another container, whisk all the wet ingredients with the egg or flax mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently stir until the batter starts coming together. Now stir in the corn and cheese.
Spoon the batter into the hot muffin pan, filling them ¾th of the way till the top. Tap the pan on the counter to get the batter to settle. Bake the remaining batter in the smaller pan. The cornbread needs about 18-20 minutes to cook. After this you can broil the bread if desired, to get a crunchier crust.
Run a knife along the edges of the muffin cups and then remove the bread. If you’re not serving the cornbread hot out of the oven, allow it to cool on a wire rack so that the bottoms don’t get soggy.
Serve the cornbread with a hearty soup or Pop’s Peppery Chilli. Leftovers can be re-heated on a cast-iron griddle to crisp up the crust and served with scrambled eggs for breakfast.