Mediterranean–Style Corn Bread

Even though corn is native to the Americas, its popularity in the Mediterranean region is so widespread that you would think it originated there. This Italian-inspired version is an updated interpretation of traditional recipes from the northern Italian regions of Veneto, Lombardia, and Fruili. Introduced by the Ottomans in the 900s, corn flour was called grano turco or “Turkish grains” in Italian, and became extremely popular with the Jewish community in Venice. Soon thereafter, it became a poor man’s staple throughout Italy.

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil,
2½ cups (305 g) stone ground
100% whole-grain, medium-grind
½ tablespoon (9 g) unrefined
sea salt or salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups (475 ml) boiling water
¼ cup (14 g) chopped sun-dried
4 ounces (115 g) fresh mozzarella
cheese, shredded by hand into large
Yield: 12 servings

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Grease an 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pan with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
Combine the cornmeal, salt, remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, baking
powder, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the boiling water and stir to mix
until all of the water is incorporated in the mixture.
Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella. Pour the cornmeal
mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your hands and press down to
smooth the top.
Bake for 10 minutes and then cover the pan with aluminum foil and
bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden and firm on top. Allow to
cool slightly and serve warm, or allow to cool and wrap in plastic wrap.

Mediterranean Tradition
While many Americans find the words healthful bread to be an
oxymoron, this isn’t the case in the Mediterranean region. There,
fresh breads made with high-quality grains are enjoyed daily and are
a backbone to the diet. Simple, quick breads such as this one can be
whipped up in minutes and provide a heartier alternative to store-
bought varieties.