Have you ever had Cornbread Salad? It’s hands-down my favorite summer supper. I can assure you there are more recipes for cornbread salad than you can shake a stick at. But I actually don’t use a recipe at all, and that’s the beauty of it. Improvising with the ingredients I have on hand keeps it carefree and spontaneous.
I start off with a small batch of cornbread that’s not sweet. (I’m not a sweet cornbread fan, but sweet works just fine, too.) Once it’s cooled, the cornbread’s cut into bite-size pieces.
Now for the salad assembly, which I do hours in advance: First, I layer half the cornbread pieces in my biggest salad bowl. (I’ll tell you why I use a big bowl later.) Let me stop right here and say that homegrown tomatoes have always been the star of my cornbread salad, which is why I only make it in July, August, and September. I use more tomatoes than any other ingredient. Alright, so I top the cornbread pieces with a really thick layer of chopped tomato sprinkled with salt, then add a shallow layer of any or all of the following: shredded lettuce, whole kernel corn, chopped green or sweet onion, kidney or black beans, chopped cucumber, cooked crumbled bacon, and shredded cheese. Next I spread a nice thick layer of ranch dressing over it all.
Then I repeat the layering process, ending with a layer of ranch dressing.
It’s best to cover and refrigerate this for at least 2 hours. I prefer to toss it before serving so that the juices from the tomato and the creamy dressing coat all the ingredients. The tossing is why I use my biggest salad bowl; otherwise, you’d be looking at a mess.
Cornbread salad is perfect alongside anything coming off the grill—pork tenderloin, flank steak, chicken, or fish.
Bobby Deen did a lightened version of cornbread salad for the magazine. For his Tex-Mex Cornbread Salad, click here.
Until next time, stay cool and eat well.
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