Sunday, July 6, 2008

Southwestern Salad and Cornbread Puddings

We’re all eating more salads now that the warmer months are here, right? I certainly am. I try to plan a salad for a main course meal at least once a week. Salads are cool and refreshing when it’s hot and muggy outside, and they’re fast and simple to throw together. The only problem for me is that they’re not very filling. I have a big appetite, and lettuce doesn’t always cut it. I usually fill my salads with lots of yummy extras, but I still often like to have something on the side. Crusty rolls or breadsticks are a reliable option, but sometimes I like to change it up a bit.

First, the salad. I made Chopped Salad with Spicy Pork and Buttermilk Dressing, with some modifications. I made it vegetarian (not to mention cheaper) by substituting black beans for pork, and I took the seasonings that were meant to flavor the pork and simply added them to the dressing. This worked very well. The salad was substantial yet light, and the dressing was creamy and spicy. All it needed was the prefect companion.

I considered serving it with some blue corn chips. Those would work well with the salad’s southwestern flavors, and the crunchiness of the chips would provide a nice texture contrast, especially since this salad doesn’t have any croutons. I thought that would be too easy, though. The salad was such a cinch to make that I thought I could spare some time and make something a bit more special, so I turned to my trusty recipe queue (category: side dishes) and found Martha Stewart’s Mini Cornbread Puddings. Perfect! I’d been wanting to make these for a while.

The idea behind calling these “puddings” is that they’re much moister than regular cornbread, thanks to a healthy helping of sour cream in the batter. I adore the name (“mini puddings” just sounds so cute), but, after making these, I wouldn’t exactly say they’re pudding-like. The word “pudding” makes me think there will be an ooey-gooey center, and these don’t have that. They have more of a spongy texture, which means they’re not crumbly at all. They hold together very well and are just the right size to pop in your mouth. Fresh from the oven they went very well with the salad, but the next night I lightly grilled the leftovers, brushed them with garlic butter and sprinkled lightly with salt, and thought they were even better.

Black Bean and Corn Salad with Garlicky Buttermilk Dressing
Adapted from Chopped Salad with Spicy Pork and Buttermilk Dressing

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 scallions, whites minced and greens thinly sliced, separated
1/4 teaspoon chili powder or chipotle chile powder
1 garlic clove, crushed through a press or grated with a microplane
Salt and pepper
1 head romaine lettuce (1 1/4 pounds), trimmed and chopped
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels, thawed and patted dry
2 ounces pepper-jack or colby-jack cheese, cubed

Make dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, scallion whites, chili powder, and garlic; season with salt and pepper.

In a separate bowl, toss together romaine, corn, beans, cheese, and scallion greens. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately

Mini Cornbread Puddings
From Martha Stewart

Butter, room temperature, for pan
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels, thawed and patted dry

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with rack in upper third. Butter 24 mini muffin cups; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, whisk together egg, sour cream, and corn. Mix with flour mixture just until incorporated (do not overmix).

Dividing evenly, spoon batter into prepared muffin pan. Bake until tops have browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 10 to 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes in pan; turn out onto a cooling rack. Serve, or cool completely and store at room temperature in an airtight container, up to 2 days.

*These cornbread puddings are not sweet. If that’s what you’re after, add a little extra sugar.


[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

The salad looks scrumptious. With the black beans, I don't think I'll even miss the pork. As well, corn puddings are my favourite.

Jeena said...

Salad looks so fabulous and delicious and I so adore those cornbread puddings! :-D

My Sweet & Saucy said...

The salad and corn bread looks so delicious! what a great meal!

Lore said...

I've been making cornmeal muffins for quite a while now so I'm sure I'd love the puddings as well.
I have the same problem with salads and I tend to eat them o a baguette slice or simply eat two servings instead of one :D.

noble pig said...

These look amazing and sound even more delicious! Love it.

Grace said...

i truly think i'd prefer the black beans to the pig, especially if there are corn muffins in the mix. black beans and corn go together like apple and cinnamon. :)

Shaye said...

That sounds so good!
And it just so happens that I have everything necessary in my kitchen right now! Thanks!!!

Jeff said...


Tis the salad season but it is perfect because all that lettuce needs to get used up.

Salad looks beautiful!!!

Patsyk said...

We eat a lot of main dish salads in the summer, too. I love the cornbread puddings idea.

Parker said...

Really nice photos. I use to eat so many salads, and you are right you definetly need those yummy extras to keep you full. I love the thought of buttermilk dressing and those cornbread puddings. Very southern.

Katie said...

I love Cornbread I will have to give this recipe a shot!

Kevin said...

That salad looks nice and bright and colourful and good! The cornbread puddings sound great!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

man these corn breads look out of this world! Yum!!!

Elle said...

What a great meal! I love the changes you made in the salad. Not that I don't love pork, but that was very creative!

Daziano said...

Yummy!!! Beans are perfect for a salad!!! I've never had corn puddings but they look SO good!!!

Deborah said...

I definitely need to eat more salads right now, and this one - with the puddings - looks like a perfect weeknight meal!

~Madeline~ said...

I'm always on the lookout for cornbread recipes but I've never tried cornbread puddings. I'm so excited to try them! Oh, and the salad looks fantastic too!

Rachel said...

Your pudding looks so delicious. Thanks for the recipe

Isla said...

The muffins are great. I used Greek yogurt and got more than 24 (around 32), but the more the merrier. They were done at exactly 10 min. Thanks.