|Pinch the green fluff off the core|
We cut the flower spike off the stem, and bring them home to peel off the covering, shaking off the tiny beetles that often live inside. There isn't much "meat" on the lower, female flower, so that gets discarded. The upper, male portion can be boiled, buttered, and salted and eaten like corn on the cob, leaving behind a white core. We also like to pinch off the tender green fluff from the core and use it in recipes, lending a corn-like flavor. The green fluff can be frozen successfully by packing it tightly in a container, or vacuum packing it into pouches and used all year.
This bread has a similar texture as conventional cornbread, and we make it in a cast iron skillet for a nice crispy outer crust. Serve it with some sour cream dolloped on top, or on the side of some chili.
Cattail Bread makes one 9" cast iron pan, or 9" cake pan
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. cattail flower fluff, removed from core
2 Tbsp. cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. diced jalapenos or sweet red pepper
3 Tbsp. chopped scallions or ramps greens
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar
5 Tbsp. butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1. Heat oven to 400º F, butter a cast iron skillet or baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cattail fluff, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper, diced peppers, chopped scallions, and shredded cheese. Mix together.
3. In a second bowl, whisk the eggs with the melted butter and buttermilk.
4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until combined.
5. Pour into prepared skillet or pan, and bake 18-25 minutes, until lightly browned and the top springs back when pressed. Cool and cut.