My mom and planted a garden this year, and it’s just a tiny bit possible that we may have planted a few too many plants. We currently have an out-of-control jungle situation going on. We planted one (very large) raised bed with a few pickling cucumbers, a couple regular cucumbers, three zucchini, one eggplant, six tomato plants, five jalapeno plants, four red bell peppers, green beans, Swiss chard and assorted lettuce and greens. Everything has positively taken off, which is awesome, but it’s seriously out of control. We’ve picked a dozen zucchini in just over a week. I have over 10 jalapeños in various stages of growth (at least three ready to be picked) on just one of the plants. Needless to say, there will be no shortage of zucchini recipes here this summer! I’ve done a lot of zucchini baking over the past few summers with recipes such as Zucchini Bread, Zucchini-Pineapple Bread (a favorite from my grandma’s recipe box!), Zucchini Squares, Zucchini-Pineapple Cupcakes with Orange Sour Cream Frosting and Garden Zucchini Pizza Casserole. This year I’m on the hunt for new and unique recipes since it looks like I’ll have a lot of zucchini to experiment with and this easy cornbread was the perfect way to kick off my zucchini baking for the summer.
I am a huge fan of cornbread (see classic cornbread and jalapeño cheddar cornbread for a couple of my favorite variations) and was excited to give this a try. I was also able to use up most of the remaining buttermilk from my blueberry-lemon Bundt cake, score! This batter bakes up just like most quick breads – whisk together the dry ingredients, whisk together the wet ingredients, and then fold the two together with a spatula. Pour into a pan, bake and voilà! Golden brown and perfectly moist cornbread studded with flecks of gorgeous green zucchini. As with just about everything that zucchini is baked into, it takes on the flavor of what’s it’s baked with, so what you have here is a fabulous cornbread that’s tremendously moist. This bread is an absolute winner, and definitely has a permanent place on my summer zucchini baking list!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set aside.
Trim the ends off the zucchini and thinly slice 3 to 5 rounds from one end of the zucchini and reserve for garnish. Shred the remaining zucchini, toss with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and place in a colander. Allow to drain for 30 minutes, then gather it in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out any excess water.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs and buttermilk. Gently stir the zucchini into the butter mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently fold together until no traces of flour remain. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and top with the reserved zucchini slices.
Bake until the bread is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely. The bread can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.