By Rosie Hawthorne on July 8, 2020
(Plus, the origin of the term “Dog Days of Summer”)
During the heat of the summer season, I like light meals – nothing too heavy for the Dog Days of Summer. And in case you were wondering what that expression means, it refers to the Dog Star, Sirius, which is now the brightest star visible in the sky. The Dog Star is part of the constellation Canis Major, the “Greater Dog,” and it rises and sets at the same time as the sun from July 3 to August 11 for this latitude. The ancient Romans referred to this time as diēs caniculārēs, or “dog days.” And now, you know.
My culinary offering for these sultry days is a savory cornbread salad, layered with an assortment of salad bar items and napped with a fresh and tangy buttermilk and herb dressing. I’m not providing a recipe for the cornbread because I figure everybody has their favorite; however, I will make a few suggestions to help your cornbread stand out. For starters, I like to use buttermilk instead of regular milk to make my cornbread a bit more piquant. Also, I add in corn kernels, either canned or off the cob, for more corn flavor. Next, I pour the batter into a hot, greased, cast iron pan and let it cook on the stovetop for a few minutes before going into the oven. This gives it a nice golden crust. Lastly, I like toppings on my cornbread. Consider topping with sliced tomatoes, onions, and jalapeñoes, a dusting of cumin, and a generous grating of cheddar cheese before baking.
Now, let’s make a cornbread salad. My additions are purely suggestions. Pick and choose as you like. For serving purposes, the salad can be layered in a parfait glass or trifle bowl or tossed haphazardly on a salad dish. If you layer, start with a liberal base of toasted cornbread cubes and then add additional strata of ingredients. You can pour the dressing over top or serve on the side.
Toasted cornbread cubes
Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!