Scotch Bonnet Cornbread

Deceptively simple, this cornbread has the heat of Scotch bonnet peppers with a cooling, subtly sweet mango purée providing balance.
Photo by Stephen Devries / Food & Prop Styling by Erin Merhar

Courtesy Nicole A. Taylor, author, The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen (Countryman Press, 2015).

“Melding together the American South and Caribbean ingredients creates a storied African diasporic dish,” says Taylor when describing this deceptively simple cornbread. The mango purée adds complexity and a subtle sweetness that balances the pepper’s heat. Taylor recommends cornmeal from South Carolina’s Geechie Boy Mill.

Nicole A. Taylor
Nicole A. Taylor / Illustration by Brian C. Clark

About Nicole A. Taylor

Taylor’s book, The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen, traces her move from Georgia to New York as an adult and her culinary journey to rediscover her roots. The book embraces both traditional dishes and new inventions that reflect her Brooklyn community, and the recipes included are emblematic of a younger generation of inquisitive Southern cooks with varied inspirations.

An expert in Southern foodways and a self-proclaimed “master home cook,” she’s also a freelance journalist, host of the Hot Grease podcast about food culture and food editor for Crop Stories, a semiannual journal that documents farm culture in the South.

Explore the Diverse Flavors of Modern Southern Cooking
Ingredients
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, seeded
  • 2 cups fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup mango purée
  • 2 large eggs
Directions

Add butter and pepper to small saucepan, and melt over low heat. Remove from heat, and let infuse for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 400˚F. Place seasoned 8-inch, cast-iron skillet in oven to warm.

In large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder and paprika. In separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, mango and eggs, then stir into cornmeal mixture. Remove pepper, and slowly pour butter into batter. Mix well.

Pour batter into hot skillet. Place on middle rack and bake for 40 minutes. Serves 8.

Chardonnay and corn are a great match. The Williamsburg Winery 2015 Vintage Reserve Chardonnay from Virginia offers concentrated aromas of pineapple, banana and papaya that nod to the cornbread’s Caribbean elements, with a palate that’s more nutty than fruity. Its round and creamy mouthfeel stands up to the richness of the cornbread, while the wine’s long, toasty finish melds perfectly with the recipe’s slightly smoky, not-too-sweet flavor.

Published on February 28, 2018
About the Author
Nils Bernstein
Contributing Editor, Food

A fan of sweet wines, sour beers, and old-school Rioja, Bernstein is an exhaustive traveler in search of new and unsung chefs and restaurants, innovative wine and food pairings, and eating and drinking at the source. In addition to Wine Enthusiast, Bernstein has written for Bon Appetit, Men’s Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Hemispheres, and Kinfolk, among others.

Email: nbernstein@wineenthusiast.net



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