Thin and lacy, or thick and crusty? If you're not from Rhode Island, you might never understand the fierce allegiance people have to jonnycakes, our indigenous white cornmeal pancakes. Those who live east of Narragansett Bay prefer thin cakes made with milk. On my side of the Bay, we like them thick, made with water, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Both types taste best with a pat of real butter and a splash of pure maple syrup, though you can go in a completely different direction with the addition of some roasted green chiles or sun-dried tomatoes. Jonnycakes are a popular fixture at church breakfasts throughout Rhode Island, and a delicious gluten-free alternative to pancakes. Use yellow cornmeal if you can't find the "real" thing, Kenyon's white cornmeal ground right here in the Ocean State.
West Bay jonnycake
Makes 12 thick 2-inch jonnycakes, or 3-4 servings.
1 cup white cornmeal
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp butter, plus extra for serving
Maple syrup, for serving
Preheat a frying pan or griddle over low-medium heat.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the corn meal, sugar and salt. In a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, or on the stovetop, bring 1-1/2 cups of water to a boil, and pour into the cornmeal mixture. Combine with a whisk; the mixture will be very thick, like white polenta. Melt the butter in the preheated pan, and drop the cornmeal mixture by tablespoon into the pan. Flatten each one slightly with the back of the spoon.
Let the jonnycakes cook, undisturbed, for 6 minutes, until they're browned and crispy on the bottom. Flip, and cook for 5 minutes more to crisp the other side.
Serve hot, with butter and maple syrup.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Maple sugar white cornmeal muffins, from Culinary in the Country
Old fashioned cornbread, from Never Enough Thyme
Creamy white polenta with mushrooms, from Smitten Kitchen
Honey cranberry cornmeal quick bread, from Joy the Baker
Arepas, from Gluten Free Girl and the Chef
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