Recipe of the week
Cooking with cornmeal
“In the Americas, cornmeal may be the most indigenous of ingredients,” said Rebecca Powers in The Washington Post. But are you cooking with it as often as it deserves? These “crisp, not-too-sweet” cookies, made with a touch of citrus, “elevate whatever they accompany.” Every time you make them, you will be honoring cornmeal—and a culinary tradition that links New England to New Mexico and Detroit to New Orleans.
Lemon cornmeal shortbread
¾ cup finely stone-ground cornmeal
1¼ cups flour (pastry or all-purpose), plus more for the work surface
12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
¼ tsp fine sea salt
In a bowl, whisk together cornmeal and flour. Blend butter, sugar, zest, and salt in a food processor until smooth. Add dry mixture; process for about 1 minute, to form a consistent dough. Transfer to a container, cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes, until well chilled.
Let dough come to room temperature. Lightly flour a work surface, then knead dough until it feels pliable but still holds together. Shape into two logs about 3 inches long and 2 inches across. Wrap in parchment paper and freeze until almost solidly firm (30 minutes to 1 hour; you want to be able to slice it).
Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap the logs; cut each into about 12 slices of equal width, spacing them on the baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake one sheet at a time (middle rack) 12 to 15 minutes, until the cookies’ edges barely start to brown. Cool completely before serving or storing. Makes 24. ■