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True Blue

September 14, 1986|JOAN DRAKE | Joan Drake is a Times staff writer.

Blue cornmeal--used for centuries by the Indians of New Mexico--is finding its way into the recipes of innovative California chefs. Blue Corn Bread Madeleines, developed by Corry Robbins while chef at Los Angeles' Sonora Cafe, are served with butter and honey, but taste equally tantalizing plain. Chef Bradley Ogden's Blue Corn Cakes with Honey-Pecan Butter are a favorite choice for breakfast or brunch at Campton Place in San Francisco. Corn kernels ranging from midnight blue to deep purple are ground to produce the blue-gray cornmeal available in health and specialty food stores. Different grinds are sold, but all can be used interchangeably in recipes, with the possible exception of tortillas, which are best made

with a coarser grind. BLUE CORN CAKES

cup blue cornmeal

cup flour

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

teaspoon ground white pepper

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 egg, separated

3/4 cup milk, about

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 egg white

Clarified butter or bacon fat

Honey Pecan Butter

Mix cornmeal, flour, salt, white pepper and sugar. Beat egg yolk lightly, then stir in milk and melted butter. Combine with dry ingredients.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into batter. If batter is too thick, stir in additional milk.

Using 1 heaping tablespoon batter per cake, fry in clarified butter in large skillet. Shape each cake into 2-inch circle. Cook until edges become golden brown, turn and cook 30 seconds more. Serve with Honey Pecan Butter. Makes about 16 corn cakes. Honey Pecan Butter

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

cup honey

cup finely chopped toasted pecans

Beat butter until smooth and soft in small bowl. Beat in honey, then mix in pecans. Makes 1 cup. BLUE CORN BREAD MADELEINES

1 cup blue cornmeal

1 cup flour

3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat egg in small bowl. Stir in butter and buttermilk. Combine with dry ingredients.

Spoon batter into buttered Madeleine plaque depressions, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake at 425 degrees 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Makes 3 1/2 dozen. PRODUCED BY ROBIN TUCKER INDIAN ARTIFACTS FROM NONESUCH GALLERY, SANTA MONICA

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