My first fine-dining job was working for Chef Cindy Wolf in Baltimore. She took a chance on me when I really didn’t know how to cook, like, at all. She made me bake the cornbread for the restaurant, and it taught me that no matter what you’re doing, do it the best you can. She’ll tell you that I made the best damn cornbread in the state. This is my adaptation of Chef Cindy Wolf’s recipe, but to be honest, every time I open the oven, I’m doing something that Cindy taught me how to do.

Bake these as soon as they’re mixed, because the acid in the buttermilk will set off the baking soda and you want to get the most lift out of your leavening agent. And make your mouth happy and serve with homemade honey butter—roughly a 2:1 ratio of butter to honey, whipped until soft and awesome. —Duff


Makes one 9 x 13-inch pan or 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Big pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 extra-large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F and grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or cake pan, or a 12-cup muffin tin.

  2. In a big bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and buttermilk to a uniform color.

  4. Quickly but gently fold the liquid mixture into the dry mixture. It should be a loose batter, not a dough. If not, add some more buttermilk or even some cream, but just a tad; these ratios are right.

  5. Pour the batter into the pan or divide it among muffin cups and bake for about 22 minutes (15 to 18 minutes for muffins), or until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out somewhat clean. Let cool for 7 minutes, then turn them out upside-down so they develop a nice thin crust on the baked edge.