What's the best breakfast or brunch you've ever had? As I lie in bed pondering that very question this morning, I had an epiphany: I absolutely love a Creole/Cajun breakfast. I effortlessly recalled the amazing brunch I enjoyed with friends, in our Sunday best, at Pappadeaux Seafood in Houston, TX. I thought about the beignets from Cafe Du Monde that I ate on the banks of the Mississippi River. I remembered the frequent trips to Dixie Kitchen (a favorite of the POTUS, btw) for their eggs sardou. I smiled thinking of all the incredible food I've had from my friends' homes in South Mississippi and mom-and-pop restaurants, roadside stands, and corner stores in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
Given my love for breakfast, I realized the dearth of breakfast recipes on my blog didn't accurately capture my relationship with breakfast food. So, I decided to comb through several of my favorite cookbooks for some inspiration. Interestingly enough, I encountered the very same problem. There were the obligatory biscuit and shrimp and grits recipes, but breakfast was mostly an afterthought. The cookbook B. Smith Cooks Southern Style was a godsend. The cookbook is divided into twelve chapters and each chapter is dedicated to a food category. I beelined for the brunch chapter and discovered an intriguing recipe for Lacy-Edged Batty Cakes. Smith notes that a headline from John Thorne's book Simple Recipes reads:
"There are various recipes for this corn cake, made famous by the once-annual 'Batty Cake Brekfus' on the morning of the Kentucky Derby, where they were served along with 'sawsidges, 'lasses, sputterin' coffee and fried apples.'"These corn cakes seemed like an interesting choice for breakfast, but as a cornbread/tamale/corn cake lover, I had to try them. The corn cakes turned out incredibly light, crispy, buttery, and were best eaten right out of the skillet (trust me on this). Forget Lay's, I betcha can't eat just one Lace Edge Corn Cake. These corn cakes are in the same family as hot water cornbread and are great with apple butter, eggs, salmon, cheese, and tomatoes. They also make a great base for an eggs benedict.
Lace Edge Corn Cakes*
- 3/4 cup white cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powdeer
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 4 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled slightly
- Vegetable oil, for cooking as needed
In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk and egg. Fold in the cornmeal mixture, stirring until the liquid has been absorbed. Add the melted butter.
Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and lightly oil the surface. Using 1 tablespoon of batter for each cake, fry about 4 at a time for 2 to 3 minutes, until cakes begin to bubble and bottoms are golden. Flip with a spatula and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until golden. Serve immediately.
* recipe adapted from B. Smith Cooks Southern Style