Tomato Upside Down Cornbread
Crispy, butter, soft, tangy…this Tomato Upside Down Cornbread has it all. A dramatic presentation of the humble cornbread, this recipe will elevate any barbecue or cookout to a fine dining level. It’s also incredibly effortless to make, as well.
So….I will refrain from announcing, once again, that summer has arrived. I’ll let the produce speak for itself. I told a story long ago when I first started this blog about how I hate winter produce, peaches and tomatoes in particular. It’s like they’re not even real. And how excited I get when I start seeing tomatoes at the farm stand down the road from my house because that means eating healthy just got easier….I mean, have you ever eaten a tomato out of hand…just like you would an apple? It’s one of summer’s simple pleasures. Slice it thin with a little sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Layer with a few slices of mozzarella. Sprinkle with some fresh chopped basil. Toss with a little balsamic vinegar. You get the picture. And they’re stunning to look at.
Slicing into a tomato….a fresh, ripe summer tomato, just puts a smile on my face. The juices run pink all over the cutting board and the inside looks like art. Bright red and shiny. I wanted to take advantage of the beauty of a tomato and use it to beautify something else….like cornbread. Cornbread is often overlooked in my opinion, it’s not pretty….it’s kind of just blah. And it could be the best thing you ever put in your mouth but it’s outward appearance is kind of unassuming. It’s kind of that whole…don’t judge a book by it’s cover and….true beauty is on the inside, thing. You know what I’m talking about? So, I mashed everything together to put the beauty on the outside AND the inside. Because sometimes I’m genius like that.
A few months ago, I attended the IACP conference in Washington, DC….it was pretty spectacular and my first conference ever. I had the pleasure of meeting the people behind Anolon cookware and talking about some of their new products. I fell in love with their new line of Vesta Cast Iron…specifically the 10-inch French Skillet. It’s pretty amazing, suitable for all cooktops (including induction!) and has a super easy to clean interior with a “no-seasoning required” cast iron interior. The pan provides perfectly even heat distribution and is broiler safe….love, love, love. And that’s why I decided to whip up a skillet cornbread…a Tomato Upside Down Cornbread baked in the Vesta Cast Iron Skillet.
My cornbread is crazy easy to make and would be insanely mouthwatering dipped in a bowl of Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chili. Just a little suggestion.
First, you’ll melt a little (ok, a lot) butter and a smidge of olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle with sugar and let everything dance and get happy for a bit.
Next, you’ll arrange your tomatoes in the skillet and let them settle in for a spell.
Then, you’ll pour the batter into the skillet and watch the edges caramelize for a few minutes. Transfer to the oven and wait. Ever so NOT patiently.
Once your cornbread is done baking, let it rest for about 10 minutes or so….just so you’re not trying to wing around a searing hot skillet. I know most upside down recipes call for immediate evacuation of the pan but in this case you can wait a bit. The Vesta Cast Iron Skillet retains the heat well so things are not going to get all sticky and stuck in there. Trust me, it will slide out stunningly perfect.
Top the skillet with a plate and turn the cornbread over. Remove the skillet and marvel at your creation. Stop and stare at it for a moment….and then top with chopped basil. Serve with your bowl full of chili or as part of your brunch spread with a side of Bloody Margaritas. Or frame it and hang it in the kitchen. It’s your creation to admire as you see fit. Happy tomato season!
Disclaimer: Anolon sent me the Vesta Cast Iron Skillet to try. All opinions are my own and I LOVE it. 🙂
Tomato Upside Down Cornbread
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 large room temperature eggs beaten
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 large tomato sliced into 1/4 inch slices
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the eggs and buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Set aside.
- In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, heat the remaining butter and olive oil over med-high heat until the butter is melted. Sprinkle the sugar over the butter and cook for 1 minute. Arrange the tomato slices in the bottom of the skillet and cook for 30 seconds. Pour the batter into the skillet and spread with a spatula so the bottom is covered. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Cover the skillet with a plate and turn the skillet over to remove the cornbread. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Best if enjoyed the same day.