Skillet Cornbread

A cookout crowd-pleaser, this cornbread is so easy to make and such a great mop for chili, baked beans, or pulled pork. Buttermilk (instead of milk) balances out the sweetness, adding the right amount of moisture to keep it crumbly but not dry. Try adding some jalapeno, fresh corn kernels or cilantro.  

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
1¼ cups finely ground yellow cornmeal
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups buttermilk, shaken before using

1. Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
2. Place 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large (12-inch) cast iron skillet; set aside. In a small saucepan or using the microwave, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter; set aside.
3. Place cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

4. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl until frothy, then whisk in buttermilk until incorporated. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir until dry streaks are just incorporated. (Do not overmix.) Fold in melted butter until just combined, then let mixture sit for 5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, place the skillet in the oven until hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and swirl the melted butter around to coat the bottom of the pan.
6. Pour the batter into the hot skillet and bake until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Place the skillet on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before serving. To serve, cut wedges directly from the skillet or let the cornbread cool for another 15 minutes before inverting onto a plate. Serves 12. –Jill Santopietro for CHOW.com.