You might say this is American peasant food with a modern twist. Which makes it perfect for Soul Food Sunday!
A hoecake, if you’re not familiar, is kind of a cross between a pancake and cornbread. Some people call them Johnnycakes or corncakes, but I’ve always known them as hoecakes. This simple cornmeal treat used to be cooked over the fire on top of the blade of a hoe–which is how it got it’s name. The simplest recipes for these cakes involve just cornmeal and water, but I like the flavor and texture you get from adding more traditional cornbread ingredients like eggs and flour and milk. The classic Southern way to eat them is for breakfast with a little butter and maple syrup, but they’re also eaten alongside traditional Southern sides like collard greens and black eyed peas. They’re sweet and savory so they go with almost anything you can think of. And they’re a breeze to make!
- ⅔ c. yellow cornmeal
- ⅓ c. whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 t. baking powder
- ½ t. salt
- 1 t. sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 T. oil
- ⅔ c. milk (nondairy will work fine)
- clarified butter or oil for the pan
- 2 T. lime juice
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 T. onion, finely chopped
- ½ t. cumin
- ¼ t. pepper
- ½ t. salt
- 1 c. black beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ c. corn, drained and rinsed
- ½ c. tomatoes, diced
- 1 T. cilantro, chopped
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, oil, garlic, onion, cumin, salt, and pepper.
- Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, and cilantro, and toss gently to coat.
- Refrigerate while you make the hoecakes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, and milk.
- Heat a cast iron skillet (or whatever skillet you have) on medium low heat.
- When the pan is hot, add enough butter or oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Spoon the batter into the pan in small cakes (traditional hoecakes are small so use anywhere from a couple tablespoons to ¼ c. of batter).
- When the bottoms of the cakes are nice and golden brown, flip them over and let them brown on the other side.
- Remove from the pan and serve hot, with salsa spooned over top.
I admit that I ate one hot out of the pan with maple syrup drizzled over it, but they’re equally as delicious with a savory element like this fresh tasting salsa. The hoecakes are so light and fluffy and dreamy on the inside that I almost forget whatever is on top.
Here’s to a great week ahead!