From Bill Neal’s Southern Cooking (1985). Bill was the founder and first chef of La Résidence in Chapel Hill and later chef at “The Pink Pig”, otherwise known as Crook’s Corner and site of many delectable Helwig meals. He died young and he is still missed.
We use this cornbread as a traditional accompaniment to Shrimp Boiled in Beer, and it’s wonderful with chili and all kinds of soup. It’s also traditional at the New Year, when it is served with Bill Neal’s version of Hoppin’ John.
1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal, preferably medium-ground
1 cup flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt and mix well. Beat the buttermilk and eggs together with 3 tablespoons of the melted butter.
Brush an 8-inch square pan or a 9-inch cake pan or 8-inch ovenproof skillet with the remaining melted butter and preheat it in the oven for 5 minutes. Combine the liquid and dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Pour into the hot pan and bake 30 minutes in middle level of oven. When done, it will be golden brown and the cake will have pulled away from the sides of the pan.
If you have two ear-of-corn cast iron pans, you can cut this recipe in half to get enough batter for 14 crispy buttery cornbread ears. They will only need to bake for 15-20 minutes.