Needed some cornbread to complement home-made veggie chili stew and decided to seek out an olive oil recipe and try to flavor it up with smoke. The “authentic” iron skillet recipes didn’t call for much oil – so I looked for something with enough oil in the content that the flavor would have a chance to stand out. I found this delicious sounding recipe using fresh basil and since my garden was full of basil decided to give it a go.
I followed the recipe exactly, only substituting smoked olive oil for regular EVOO. I used the capay valley – light smoke flavor hoping the stronger flavor oil would stand up to all the buttermilk, but not wanting to overpower it with smoke flavor since it did call for quite a bit of oil.
First I picked and prepped fresh garlic from the garden. I have three different varieties and chose some from all three.
I mixed the dry ingredients (2 cups flour, 2 cups cornmeal, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt) in one bowl and then added the chopped fresh basil. Then I mixed the wet ingredients (1 3/4 cup buttermilk, 2/3 cup smoked olive oil, 1 egg) in another bowl to ensure that the wet ingredients were well mixed before adding to the dry.
Then I added the wet to the dry until they were well blended.
I put the mix into a square baking pan and baked at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes (until the toothpick came out dry) and the top was golden and slightly crusty.
The finished product… voila!
Unfortunately I pulled it out a bit early so the center was a little underdone. But the rest of it was appropriately moist inside, crusty outside, and full of flavor. The original recipe calls for “mini-tins” which I didn’t do so for a larger pan, it may need an extra five minutes in the oven.
As for the “smoke”, I could distinctly taste it amongst the other ingredients. Because this was heavy on buttermilk, the smoke flavor was subtle but definately there. It gave it a deep earthy flavor as I expected which went really great with the taste of the garden coming from the fresh basil. It was not overly sweet, but I did not want to add any honey. It held up to my chili really well, and after a bit of chili I was certain I could taste the smoke even more. This morning I had a slab with some soft butter on top and it was super yummy. Definately a success!