Jim Dixon wrote about food for WW for additional than 20 a long time, but these days most of his time is invested at his olive oil-targeted specialty food stuff enterprise Wellspent Marketplace. Jim’s always liked to take in, and he encourages his clients to cook by sending them recipes every single week as a result of his newsletter. We’re joyful to have him back again producing some special dishes just for WW readers.
I read about cush cush for several years prior to I understood how to make it. Dave Robicheaux, the deeply flawed Louisiana cop in James Lee Burke’s crime novels, normally cooked it for breakfast. At very first I believed it was one more edition of fried cornmeal mush, leftover cooked grits, or polenta slash into slabs and fried right up until crispy. Or possibly it was working day-aged cornbread crumbled into a hot skillet. I could not Google it when I examine the initial Robicheaux guide in the late 1980s, but sooner or later the net filled with a million recipes, like a number of for diverse versions of cush cush (also spelled coush coush or couche couche).
It’s basically pan-fried cornbread. You combine cornmeal with milk or water, some salt and possibly baking powder, then cook it in a skillet on the stove, ideally in bacon grease. Robicheaux typically pours a very little milk and cane syrup more than his bowlful, but I have also found savory versions with onion, warm peppers, and occasionally cracklins or greens.
The identify itself will come from the Senegambian kush, the steamed or boiled grains of millet or sorghum that were a staple of the West African eating plan. French colonization remodeled the name to couscous, and enslaved Africans in the New World designed it from this continent’s indigenous grain, corn. Like numerous foodstuff brought to The us by the enslaved, cush cush misplaced its link to historical past and these days is frequently just called Cajun cush.
Fraught background aside, cush cush demonstrates how a handful of standard substances and basic cooking strategy can nonetheless be very delicious. It is even much better if you use entire-grain cornmeal, the variety you need to continue to keep in the freezer due to the fact the oils in the germ can grow to be rancid. You won’t uncover it at the grocery keep, but you could get lucky at the farmers current market. Or you can get it on line from sources like Anson Mills (and we often have nearby cornmeal from Ayers Creek Farm at Wellspent Marketplace). But great extra fat is the serious mystery, no matter whether it is bacon grease, butter, or extra-virgin olive oil. While cane syrup is classic, it can be difficult to uncover. I’ve located sorghum syrup at New Seasons, and it has almost the very same taste as cane syrup.
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup water*
1 teaspoon baking powder**
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons additional-virgin olive oil
Sorghum or maple syrup for serving
*some recipes contact for milk, and it makes the cush cush a very little richer
**optional, but it provides the cush cush a little bit additional physique
Mix cornmeal, h2o, baking powder and salt into a thick batter. Heat the olive oil in a hefty skillet, ideally forged iron, above medium heat until it commences to ripple. Insert batter, unfold out evenly, and enable prepare dinner undisturbed for about 10 minutes or till the bottom is starting to brown. Crack up the cush cush with a spatula, turning the items above. Minimize heat to small, protect, and allow cook for a further 15 minutes or so.
Provide with syrup. Milk, cream or yogurt along with jam or honey are also good.