According to the cookbook, this week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe, the Lemon Pistachio Cornmeal Muffin, is a hybrid muffin love child. It's a cross between Matt Lewis's beloved lemon poppy seed muffins and Renato Poliafito's cherished corn muffins, with a little pistachio thrown in for good measure. The flavor combination seemed quite strange to me when I read the recipe, but I was intrigued to see how these muffins would turn out.
The recipe method is pretty standard for a muffin: mix together the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, ground pistachios, baking powder), make a well and pour in the wet ingredients (eggs, sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, and melted butter), and fold to incorporate. You pour the batter into greased muffin pans, sprinkle on chopped pistachios, and bake.
Sound Bites in Somerville, MA, for brunch, and there they split the muffins in half and grill them. I've always wondered why more restaurants don't do this, because it's a genius idea -- it has the effect of both buttering and toasting a muffin at the same time. Anyway, I decided to pan fry a muffin in butter, and the frying definitely improved it. The muffin already had a lot of texture from the cornmeal and the pistachio garnish, but frying the muffin also added a wonderful browned crispness; plus, is there anything that doesn't taste better after being fried in butter?
This is basically a corn muffin, with lemon as a secondary element and pistachio being tertiary. To me, the flavor combination was odd. Not unpleasant, but odd. The muffins weren't very sweet, and I thought they would be appropriate as a dinner accompaniment. In the universe of muffins from the Baked boys, I would rate these as better than the Honey Corn Muffins, but not as good as the Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins. If you are a fan of corn muffins, these are certainly an interesting variation worth trying.
Recipe: "Lemon Pistachio Cornmeal Muffins" from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.