A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Although cast-iron-baked cornbread is traditional in the North Carolina mountains, this beautiful and fragrant version — as seen in the story about Barbara Swell’s log cabin cooking — never fails

Madison County Championship Rodeo

Although cast-iron-baked cornbread is traditional in the North Carolina mountains, this beautiful and fragrant version — as seen in the story about Barbara Swell’s log cabin cooking — never fails

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Although cast-iron-baked cornbread is traditional in the North Carolina mountains, this beautiful and fragrant version — as seen in the story about Barbara Swell’s log cabin cooking — never fails

Brown Butter Sage Leaf Buttermilk Cornbread

Although cast-iron-baked cornbread is traditional in the North Carolina mountains, this beautiful and fragrant version — as seen in the story about Barbara Swell’s log cabin cooking — never fails to delight guests. You’ll need a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate and an oven preheated to 400°. A clear Pyrex oven-safe pie plate works best the first time you make this, so you can see if the bottom of the cornbread is nice and brown when baked.

5 tablespoons unsalted melted butter, plus more to grease the plate
A handful of fresh sage leaves of various sizes
2 cups stone-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1½ cups buttermilk

Thickly butter the bottom and sides of your pie plate. Arrange sage leaves face down in a decorative flower fashion starting at the center of the plate, adding a few along the sides.

Toss together dry ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, and buttermilk. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the wet, and stir until mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. To serve, invert onto a platter so that sage leaves face up.

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This story was published on Oct 26, 2021