The subtle crunch of cornmeal gives johnnycakes appealing texture and a bit of heft. Our version, embellished with crisp bits of bacon and sharp cheddar cheese and served with honey or syrup, makes a delightful sweet-and-salty breakfast treat.
Bacon-and-Cheddar Cornmeal Johnnycakes
1 Tbs. canola oil
4 thick applewood-smoked bacon slices, coarsely chopped
1 2/3 cups (12 oz./375 g) white cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g.) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) milk
1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for serving
Honey, pure cane syrup or pure maple syrup for serving
Preheat an oven to 200°F (95°C).
In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp and golden, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off and reserve the fat, leaving a film of fat in the pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and whisk just until combined. Fold in the bacon and cheese.
Reheat the fry pan over medium heat until hot. For each johnnycake, pour about 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) of the batter into the pan and cook until bubbles form on the surface, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip the johnnycakes and cook until golden on the other side, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter, greasing the pan with more reserved fat, as needed. Serve the johnnycakes piping hot with plenty of butter and honey. Serves 4.