Vidalia Onion Cornbread- the second recipe in my series of Vidalia Onion recipes.
My husband bought a 10 pound bag of Vidalia onions from Vidalia, Georgia as part of a Civitan fundraiser. I immediately started thinking of all the recipes I could make with Vidalia onions- Caramelized Onion Baked Dip, Fajitas, Onion Jam, Grilled Onion Salad, Onion Rings, Onion and Cucumber Salad, Sweet Heat Pickles and Onions, Heirloom Tomato, French Onion Soup, and Vidalia Onion and Tomato Quiche/Pie.
I made Vidalia onion rings the first night he brought them home. Next on the list was Vidalia Onion Cornbread. I developed a similar recipe for Christmas with Southern Living 1999 cookbook when I was the test kitchen director at Oxmoor House. It was called Sage and Onion Cornbread.
It looks impressive, simple to make, and tastes amazing! The shortcut here is using your favorite bag of cornmeal mix.
We eat with our eyes, ya know, so I prefer Martha White or Aunt Jemima yellow cornmeal mix for this recipe because I think the caramelized onion fans are so pretty contrasted with the yellow cornbread. If White Lily white cornmeal is what you have in your pantry, I wouldn’t run out and buy more-I have that in my pantry, too. This is the frugal girl in me speaking.
Slice the onion vertically to give you the fanned-out shape instead of slicing horizontally which will give you round slices or rings. Don’t cut off the bottom of the onion because that is what will hold the fans together. The smaller Vidalia onions work best for this recipe so the fans will fit in the smaller skillet. You can double the recipe, use larger onions, and use a 10-inch skillet.
Arrange the onion slices/fans in the bottom of the cast iron or oven-proof skillet. I use a Lodge cast iron skillet that’s 23 years old. It was a wedding gift. The skillet will be hot, so make sure you place it on a cutting board, trivet, or stop top. Work quickly so the skillet doesn’t cool down. The hot skillet will give the cornbread that sought after brown crust and help caramelize the onions.
Ta dah! Be sure and wait the 5 minutes after removing the cornbread from the oven before turning it out onto a cutting board or trivet. Otherwise, the cornbread may stick to the bottom of the skillet. Vidalia onions are only grown in 20 south Georgia counties and have a short peak season from April to August. All Vidalia onions are sweet but not all sweet onions are Vidalias. They are known by their unique flat shape and have a much higher water content than regular onions making them sweeter but more susceptible to bruising.
If you make my Vidalia Onion Cornbread be sure to leave a comment here and let me know how you like it.
Just follow the directions on the bag of any cornmeal mix bag and it will work fine for this recipe. I adjusted the recipe on the Martha White yellow cornmeal mix bag a little because I like to use half butter and half oil and omit the extra flour their recipe calls for because there is already flour in the mix. I also omitted the sugar.
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil divided
- 1 small to medium Vidalia onion
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups milk whole or 2%
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 2 cups Martha White Yellow Cornmeal Mix
Brush 2 tablespoons vegetable oil on the bottom and sides of an 8-inch cast iron skillet and place in a cold oven.
Set the oven to 425 degrees with the skillet in the oven. Set a timer for 8 minutes. This should be enough time to preheat it plus a few minutes. It should take about 8 minutes to prepare onions and batter.
Meanwhile, remove papery outside skin from onion. Do not cut off the bottom of the onion yet. Slice the onion in half vertically. Slicing from top to bottom, cut 6 or 7 slices about 1/4-inch thick. Cut off the bottom of the remaining onion and other half of onion and dice it (about 3/4 cup).
Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl with a fork. Add milk, butter, and remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and stir with a fork. Add cornmeal mix and stir just until all ingredients are combined.
When the timer goes off, remove the hot skillet from the oven and place on the stovetop. Quickly arrange the onion slices on the bottom of the skillet around the outside edges of the pan.
With a large spoon, dollop batter over the onion slices. Pouring the batter tends to make the onion slices move around. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool on the stovetop for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cutting board or wire rack.
Shortcut: The shortcut for this recipe is using cornmeal mix. You can also use 3/4 cup frozen, chopped and thawed onion and omit the onion slices on the bottom.
Any yellow or white cornmeal mix will work for this recipe using 2 cups of the mix and the directions on the back of the bag.