November 26, 2014 12:00 PM

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Biscuit Head Drop Biscuits

Orange-Tarragon Biscuits

Orange-Rosemary Marmalade

Brown Butter & Pecan Cream Gravy

Fried Green Tomatoes

Goat Cheese Dressing

Sliced Smoked Ham

What’s the secret to the perfect biscuit? “Balance,” says Chef Jason Roy, who co-owns North Carolina’s acclaimed Biscuit Head eatery with his wife, Carolyn. “You want to have a biscuit as light as air but also tall and big, a nice crunchy outside matched perfectly with a soft and buttery inside. It is truly a harmonious pastry.” That harmony also makes biscuits an ideal brunch star. “To me, a meal that is centered around biscuits has a comfortable family feel. Biscuits say, ‘Welcome home and relax.’ They are easy and fun to make, and everyone loves a biscuit fresh and steaming right out of the oven.” For this southern brunch with a contemporary feel, Roy opted for sweet-and-savory flavors that can be customized by guests. With biscuits, “everyone can have fun experimenting with their own tastes.”

DROP STYLE BISCUIT HEAD BISCUITS

5 cups soft wheat flour

¾ tsp. kosher salt

1 tbsp. baking powder

8 tbsp. butter, chilled and cubed

2 cups buttermilk, chilled

1. Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 400º. Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Blend in butter using a pastry blender, a fork or your fingertips until mixture is crumbly. Add buttermilk, stirring just until soft dough forms. (Dough should be very sticky.)

2. Drop dough by level scoops 1 in. apart, using a 2-in. ice-cream scoop, onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes: 16 biscuits Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

For Orange-Tarragon Drop Biscuits: Stir 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves into flour mixture. Reduce buttermilk to 1½ cups. Add ½ cup fresh orange juice.

ORANGE-ROSEMARY MARMALADE

6 large oranges, peeled, quartered and seeded

5 cups sugar

3 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

8 (8-oz.) canning jars with metal lids and rings

1. Pulse oranges, in batches, in bowl of food processor until evenly chopped; place in a Dutch oven.

2. Bring oranges and sugar to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes or until sugar dissolves and syrup thickens. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat; skim off foam with a metal spoon.

3. To check consistency of marmalade, spoon a small amount of cooked mixture onto a chilled plate. When cooked to proper consistency, the mixture should gel. If it is runny, cook longer.

4. Stir in rosemary. Pour hot mixture immediately into sterilized jars, filling to ¼ in. from the top. Remove air bubbles; wipe jar rims. Cover at once with metal lids, and screw on bands.

5. Cool sealed jars completely. Refrigerate up to one month.

Makes: 8 (8-oz.) jars Prep time: 35 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

1½ cups buttermilk

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tbsp. sweet paprika

¼ tsp. ground red pepper

5 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into ¼-in.-thick slices

6 cups peanut oil

Salt

1. Whisk together buttermilk and eggs; set aside.

2. Whisk together flour and next 3 ingredients. Place 2/3 of flour mixture in a shallow bowl or pan; set aside.

3. Dredge tomato slices in remaining 1/3 of flour mixture; dip in egg mixture and dredge in reserved flour mixture. Let stand 5 minutes.

4. Pour oil to a depth of ¼ to ½ in. in a large, cast-iron skillet; heat to 375º. Cook tomatoes, in batches, in hot oil for 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on a rack set over paper towels. Sprinkle hot tomatoes with salt to taste. Serve immediately with Goat Cheese Dressing.

Makes: 6 to 8 servings Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

GOAT CHEESE DRESSING

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup buttermilk

4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

1½ tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

¼ tsp. smoked paprika

1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1 tbsp. white wine vinegar

1 tsp. lemon juice

Whisk together all ingredients. Set aside, or cover and chill up to 1 day.

Makes: about 2½ cups Prep time: 10 minutes

BROWN BUTTER & PECAN GRAVY

6 tbsp. butter

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup chopped pecans

3 cups milk

3 cups whipping cream

¾ tsp. onion powder

¾ tsp. rubbed sage

½ tsp. garlic powder

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly 1 to 2 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Reduce heat to low.

2. Stir in flour and pecans until smooth; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually add milk; cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat, 4 to 5 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.

3. Whisk in cream and next 3 ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes: 6 cups Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes

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