I first made this fried green tomato biscuit right before I attended the Ashville Food and Wine Festival a few years ago.
The excitement around the food and wine festival brings southeastern cuisine front and center, although no one would argue that while it remains the same, it’s constantly evolving and sometimes even going back to it’s original roots, using heirloom herbs, and old tattered recipes.
When I think about the Southeastern cuisine of the country, I think of comfort food and the warm welcome of biscuits at the table. You might think of something else. Perhaps it’s mac and cheese, collard greens, shrimp and grits, corn bread, tomato sandwiches, cobbler or fried chicken. Perhaps it’s all of those.
No matter what a Southern restaurant serves, I always think of biscuits. The last few restaurants I’ve eaten at in the South may have stretched their menus to include a few entrees not quite Southern, or have put very unique twists on familiar ingredients, but people smiled the most when they saw the biscuits coming.
In the South, biscuits slide their way into fine dining establishments, something perplexing until you think about the impression they make. American biscuits are such a simple food with simple ingredients. Flour, liquid (milk or buttermilk), leavening and fat. The result is a savory quickbread, crispy on the outside, pillow soft on the inside. I’ve discovered that if you make a biscuit that taps into childhood memories, such as meemaw at her wood-burning stove, it’s enough to make a grown man cry.
In the book, that serves as a companion to the PBS documentary, The Rise of the Southern Biscuit, author, Maryann Byrd, chronicles several southern restaurants, cafes, diners, and dives that still make their own biscuits. I got to try quite a few in Nashville places. I tried Aretha Frankenstein’s giant sized signature biscuits in Chattanooga and I even made them.
As I peeled through the pages, I kept looking for the biscuit secret. I read everyone’s tips and realized the two most important things about biscuit making; Sticky dough and practice. After experimentation, I developed my own perfect recipe and unique method, which has gained me five stars on google, and my promise for success, if you follow my easy instructions. I’ve written about tips here and even did a video here. The popularity and amount of emails have proven to me that the biscuit is one of the most beloved items in American cuisine, but most particularly in the Southeast.
The Southeastern cuisine has probably evolved more in the past ten years than any other part of the country. In some instances, catching up a bit, and in many instances setting food trends. No matter what new food item or style hits the marketplace, people always come back to basics, to remember a time when they ate without a tweet, or instagram, and actually looked at each other. In fact, it’s almost downright shameful to sit at a Southern table with a phone in hand, communicating to people somewhere else, when what should be happening is a building of relationships through the power of comfort food, food that will be remembered through the next generation.
This, of course doesn’t meant that a humble biscuit can’t be special while still maintaining earthy roots. I went to my garden and picked herbs today to make these biscuits along with a few green tomatoes.
There are so many ways to eat a Black Pepper Herbed Biscuit:
A sandwich of fried green tomato, bacon and runny egg makes a great breakfast. These fried green tomatoes were fried with panko breadcrumbs, but you could also use just flour. If you want to oven bake fried green tomatoes, here’s a recipe for parmesan crusted oven fried green tomatoes.
Black Pepper Biscuits with Venison Sausage Gravy (or regular sausage gravy). I’ll be featuring two ways to make sausage gravy on Wednesday.
In the meantime, think about making your plans to head to the Asheville Food & Wine Festival, celebrating Southern Food and Local Wines at their finest.
- 1 large green tomato or 2 small ones
- black pepper
- ½ cup flour for dredging
- 1 cup buttermilk or milk
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons oil for frying
- Slice tomatoes. Salt. Allow to sit for five minutes.
- Carefully wipe salt away, dredge in flour, then buttermilk, then panko bread crumbs. You have the option of just buttermilk and then flour.
- Fry at medium high heat, 350 degrees until golden brown on both sides.
- Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.
- 2 cups of soft wheat flour (White Lily) or all purpose
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon sage,finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons of ice cold butter
- 1 cup buttermilk (may not use all of it)
- dash of baking soda
- Heat oven to 450
- Mix flour with with salt, herbs, baking powder.
- Add cold chopped butter. Mix with hands until butter is in small pieces.
- Add dash of baking soda to buttermilk.
- Add buttermilk to flour mixture and mix with wooden spoon.Dough will be sticky.
- Flour hands, pat down to 8 inch disc.
- Cut with biscuit cutter.
- Place on baking sheet or cast iron frying pan or griddle, touching.
- Brush milk or buttermilk across the top (for browning).
- Bake for 15 minutes.