By Jean-Paul Bourgeois
During my sophomore year of culinary school, I visited a friend in Birmingham over a break. That was the first time I tasted Frank Stitt’s cooking. He was doing cornbread madeleines as part of his bread service at Highland’s Bar & Grill. They really stood out to me. I know this is controversial to some, but the cornbread I grew up with had sugar in it—it wasn’t a sugary dish necessarily, but it had a sweetness to it. As soon as I tasted Frank’s cornbread madeleines, I knew one day I was going to put them on my menu. When I was growing up, we served cornbread with warm cane syrup and butter, so I serve these the same way. My recipe is different from Frank’s, but it still reminds me of those madeleines at Highlands.
*Note that this recipe only works well in madeleine pans.
1 ½ cups Anson Mills coarse cornmeal
1 ½ cups Anson Mills fine cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ cup white granulated sugar
2 ½ cups buttermilk
2 whole eggs
4 ½ ounces (9 tablespoons) butter, melted
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine all dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed. In separate bowl, melt butter and combine with buttermilk. In separate bowl, whisk eggs and combine all wet ingredients. Gently fold buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. Lightly spray madeleine molds. Fill each mold ¾ of the way with batter. Bake at 400 degrees with high fan oven, or keep at 425 degrees in a still oven. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown and edges are crispy.
Set aside mold tray to cool, then remove madeleines. Serve with melted butter and warm cane syrup.
Jean-Paul Bourgeois is executive chef at Blue Smoke in Manhattan, New York. Born and raised in Thibodaux, Louisiana, he is a graduate of the John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University.