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cornbread with labneh and slow roasted tomatoes

Ingredients

For the slow roasted tomatoes:
2 pounds of tomatoes (4 or 5 large tomatoes)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the cornbread:
Butter for greasing the skillet
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 room temperature eggs
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 cups room temperature buttermilk
1/3 cup sugar

To serve:
1 1/2 cups labneh (you can substitute goat cheese or plain full-fat Greek yogurt here, which both work really well)

Instructions

  1. Slow roast the tomatoes: Pre-heat the oven to 325° F.
  2. Do not remove the stems or hull the tomatoes. Simply slice the tomatoes in half, cutting from one side to the other, rather than cutting from stem to end (but if you’re using roma tomatoes, cut from stem to end instead). Try to make your cut as level and horizontal as possible.
  3. Coat the tomatoes in the oil and sprinkle with salt, and then place the tomatoes cut-side-up on a roasting pan (optionally, using a silicone mat will help you remove them later).
  4. Slow-roast the tomatoes in the oven, checking every 30 minutes to make sure they are not burning. ** If the tomatoes seem to be browning very quickly early on, turn the heat down to 300° F and be prepared to cook them longer. The tomatoes are done once they have have shrunk significantly, browned nicely, and no longer ooze juice. This will take between 2 to 4 hours, depending on the tomatoes’ size and sugar content, and can be done up to 3 days ahead of time, and kept in the refrigerator.
  5. Once the tomatoes are done, remove the stems and use kitchen shears to snip away any burnt bits.
  6. Make the cornbread: Preheat the oven to 375° F and generously butter a 10″ cast iron skillet, or a similar sized baking dish. Feel free to make (and the butter) a parchment round if you want to eliminate any chance of sticking.
  7. In a medium or large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.
  8. In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and butter until they’re completely blended. Add half of the buttermilk, stir until combined, add the rest of the buttermilk, and stir again until combined. Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves.
  9. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, and stir together until it just comes together. Don’t over-mix the batter, and stop as soon as it comes together.
  10. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without batter sticking to it.
  11. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour, and then slice into pieces.
  12. Serve: Stir the labneh, and then plop a dollop on each piece of cornbread, and top with one or two slow roasted tomatoes (divide the tomatoes equally among the pieces). Serve immediately after topping (but note that the leftovers are pretty delicious too).