Our johnnycakes, made with milk, are thin and lacy.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Toast cornmeal, stirring often, until fragrant, about 5 minutes; transfer to a bowl, and whisk in 1 1/4 teaspoons salt.
Pour boiling water into a heatproof bowl; gradually whisk in cornmeal. Stir in milk. Heat a griddle or large cast-iron skillet over medium heat; coat with a thin layer of oil (about 1 tablespoon). Drop batter by the tablespoon onto griddle. (If batter spatters violently, reduce heat to medium-low, so that johnnycakes are gently bubbling when they hit the griddle. You may need to add more hot water, 2 tablespoons at a time, until batter is pourable but still thick.) Cook 4 or 5 johnnycakes at a time, greasing griddle as needed, until bottoms are golden with lacy, crisp edges, about 5 minutes. Flip; cook until bottoms are crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet; warm in oven while others cook. Repeat with remaining batter.