Upside-Down Heirloom Tomato Cornbread

What better way to celebrate tomato season than a savory cornbread bursting with summer flavor. Featuring a caramelized tomato top, tour crisp Upside-Down Heirloom Tomato Cornbread from our May/June 2020 issue is made all the more delicious with smoked white Cheddar cheese and fresh corn in the batter. Buttermilk keeps this quick bread moist, and minced jalapeño adds just a pinch of heat. Whether serving as an impressive appetizer or stunning side dish, you can’t go wrong with this impressive dish at your table.

Upside-Down Heirloom Tomato Cornbread
Makes 1 (10-inch) cake
  • 3 medium heirloom tomatoes (369 grams), sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds and seeded (about 11 slices)
  • 2 cups (240 grams) plain fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
  • 2¼ cups (255 grams) shredded smoked white Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup (154 grams) fresh yellow corn kernels (about 2 ears corn)
  • ½ cup (14 grams) finely sliced fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup (40 grams) diced seeded jalapeño
  • 1¾ cups (420 grams) whole buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons (84 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar
  • Garnish: fresh basil leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line bottom of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with parchment paper. Spray parchment and sides of skillet with cooking spray. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels.
  2. On prepared pan, place tomato slices.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in 1½ cups (170 grams) cheese, corn, basil, and jalapeño. Make a well in center.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs. Add buttermilk mixture to cornmeal mixture, stirring just until combined.
  5. In bottom of prepared skillet, place tomato slices, overlapping if needed. Sprinkle with sugar, and top with ½ cup (57 grams) cheese. Spoon batter onto tomatoes, smoothing top.
  6. Bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes, covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool in skillet for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a serving platter. Top with remaining ¼ cup (28 grams) cheese; garnish with basil, if desired. Serve warm.


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    • Hi! The paper towels come into play in step 2. The sliced tomatoes are placed on top of the paper towels to help remove some of the moisture from the tomatoes. This helps keep them from releasing that liquid while baking and creating a soggy cake. Hope this helps!


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