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Cornmeal Pancakes with Ham

The cornmeal gives these savory pancakes an appealing crunch. They are delicious served plain, or with a dollop of sour cream and a scattering of chopped red onion and snipped fresh chives, or with a drizzle of warm maple syrup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fine-grind white or yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 small yellow onion, grated
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cooked ham
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • Sour cream for garnish
  • Chopped red onions and chives for garnish

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 250°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, salt and sugar. Slowly and carefully stir in the boiling water, whisking until smooth and quite stiff. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the onion. Stir in enough of the milk to make a batter with the consistency of porridge. Stir in the ham and season with pepper.

Place a large griddle or fry pan with low sloping sides over medium heat until hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle and then immediately evaporate. Brush with about 1 1/2 tsp. of the melted butter. For each pancake, ladle about 1/4 cup batter onto the hot surface. Flatten the cakes with a spatula so they cook evenly. Cook until browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes.

Using the spatula, carefully turn the pancakes over and cook until browned and crisp on the other side, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not let the pancakes cook too quickly; the insides should remain a bit moist. Transfer to an ovenproof platter and place in the oven to keep warm; do not cover the pancakes or they will get soggy. Repeat with the remaining butter and batter.

Serve the pancakes accompanied by a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of red onions and chives. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).