Sunday, December 19, 2010

Buttermilk Biscuits with Green Onions, Black Pepper, and Sea Salt

I love biscuits.  It's a seriously Southern thing that I picked up at Chapel Hill while I was there and one I plan to never give up.  Unfortunately, good biscuits are much harder to find here in NYC than they were in North Carolina.  Actually, some might say that it's nearly impossible.  So I have taken to making my own whenever I have a serious biscuit craving.  The only problem that biscuit-making makes a mess.  And when you're me, it makes a HUGE mess. I should take pictures of the kitchen after I engage in a bout of biscuit-making.  Today for example, I ended up with floury hand prints on our olive oil cruet and bits of biscuit dough decorating the floor.  I'm nearly certain that I have ended up with flour in my hair at least once, which begs the question of what exactly I am doing while making my biscuits.  I wish I could tell you, but I can't.

Anyway, I love these biscuits.  Love, love, love them.  I have been saving the recipe for some time now, but I always forget to pick up self-rising flour.  Luckily, Alex picked some up to make his crazy Dutch cookies so this morning when I woke up this recipe was the first thing I thought about.  Actually, first I thought about pizza.  At about 10:00 am I told Alex that I wanted some pizza and he told me that I'm an idiot.  Isn't he sweet?  But the second thing I thought about was this biscuit recipe.  So I toddled into the kitchen in my pjs and I made my biscuits.  OMG.  They are delicious.  They have a perfect flaky, yet very tender texture typical of really good homemade buttermilk biscuits.  Nothing against Grands biscuits out of the can, but they're never quite as crisp on the outside, and yet flaky and tender on the inside.  Instead they're basically buttery and tender all the way through, which is nice and all, but they're certainly not buttermilk biscuits.  So the texture is amazing.  Actually, I think that's the first thing I told Alex after my first mouthful of biscuit.  That the texture was perfect.  And they have loads of flavor from the black pepper and the scallions.  That was the first thing Alex said.  They are absolutely gorgeous.  I think Alex has already eaten four whole biscuits, which is a huge testament to how delicious these biscuits are because he usually has one biscuit and calls it a day.  I think these biscuits could very well be the best biscuits that I have ever made.  And I don't say that lightly.

Recipe after the jump!

Buttermilk Biscuits with Green Onions, Black Pepper, and Sea Salt
November 2008

3/4 cup chilled buttermilk
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper plus additional for sprinkling
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 1 tablespoon melted butter
Coarse sea salt

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 425°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine buttermilk and green onions in medium bowl. Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper in large bowl to blend. Add 1/2 cup chilled butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk mixture and stir until moist clumps form.

Gather dough together. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead gently just to combine, about 3 to 4 turns. Roll out to 3/4-inch thickness. Using floured 2-inch cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out rounds. Reroll scraps and cut out additional rounds. Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter. Sprinkle each lightly with coarse sea salt and ground black pepper.

Bake biscuits until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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