Mario’s Cornbread will be your new favorite side dish!
FOR THE SOUTHERN CORNBREAD:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs (beaten)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted, plus 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter)
3 tablespoons olive oil
FOR THE HONEY BUTTER:
1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 tablespoons honey
Kosher salt (to taste)
FOR THE PICKLED JALAPENO RELISH:
1 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup water
6 tablespoons sugar
1 star anise pod
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
3/4 pound jalapeno peppers (thinly sliced)
1/2 red onion (peeled)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
For the Southern Cornbread: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to heat.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and olive oil. Stir to combine.
Carefully remove the heated pan from the oven. Add the cold butter and let it sizzle until it browns, then pour the batter into the pan. Return to the oven and bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until the cornbread starts to brown. Slice into wedges and serve warm with the honey butter and pickled jalapeno relish.
For the Honey Butter: In a medium bowl, combine the softened butter, honey and season with Kosher salt to taste. Transfer to a glass jar for serving.
For the Pickled Jalapeno Relish: In a large non-reactive saucepan, add the vinegars and water and bring to a simmer. Add the sugar, star anise, mustard seeds, bay leaf and chili flakes. Simmer for about 3 minutes.
Place the sliced jalapenos in a 1-quart mason jar and cover them with the pickling liquid. Allow the jar to cool to room temperature, cover with the lid and refrigerate overnight until ready to use.
In the bowl of a food processor pulse the red onion until finely chopped. Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Saute onion for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add 3 cups pickled jalapenos to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Remove to the saute pan, add 1/2 cup of the pickle brine and honey and bring to a simmer. Allow to cool and store in a glass jar until ready to use.
Tip: The honey butter and relish can be stored in airtight containers and kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks!