Southern Spoonbread with Gulf Oysters

Cory Bahr, Restaurant Cotton and Nonna, Monroe, Louisiana - May 2014

For 12 servings

Spoonbread:

  • 3 Tbsps. (43g) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
  • 3/4 cup (119g) stone- or water-ground cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. (6g) salt
  • 2 lg. eggs
  • 1 cup (235ml) whole milk
  • 2 tsps. (9g) baking powder
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.

  2. Generously butter 8" baking pan; reserve.

  3. Mix cornmeal and salt in a bowl; stirring constantly, gradually add 1 cup (235ml) boiling water; stir until smooth; stir in butter; reserve.

  4. Beat eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment until thickened and pale in color; beat in milk; add egg mixture and baking powder to cornmeal mixture; whisk until combined; pour into baking dish; bake until firm (about 30 minutes); remove from oven; place on wire rack; cool; cut into 12 pieces; reserve.

Assembly:

  • 4 slices thick-cut smoked bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 cup (86g) wild mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsps. (30ml) grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tsp. (.4g) crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup (59ml) Herbsaint
  • 1 pint (460g) oysters, shucked, strained, and liquor reserved
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 8 Tbsps. (114g) unsalted butter, cut into sm. pieces
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  1. Cook lardons in large skillet set over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until brown and crisp; remove from skillet with a slotted spoon; place on paper towels to drain; increase heat to medium-high; add mushrooms to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute; add leek, garlic, oil, and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes; deglaze skillet with Herbsaint; add oysters and reserved liquor; bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half, vegetables are softened, and oysters begin to curl around edges; season; remove from heat; gradually stir in butter; stir in juice; reserve (keep warm).

  2. To serve, divide spoon bread among serving bowls; spoon oyster sauce over.