Recipe: Summery biscuits
Taste the farm life with vegetables
As an organic vegetable farmer, I find my summers tend toward the chaotic, and the quantities of vegetables available to me daily are astounding. What I need in July are quick, simple meals that are both hearty and packed full of vegetables.
This meal is just that. It’s basically a giant vat of our favorite veggies (or the veggies we want to use up) sauteed and thrown into a velvety cream sauce. July can be a hard vegetable month because tomatoes and sweet corn aren’t quite ready (and it’s what we really want to be eating), but zucchini and summer squash are at their peak.
By the end of July, we’ve already eaten zucchini and summer squash for nearly two months and we just don’t want them anymore. This meal transforms them into something much more elegant and beautiful. Since biscuits filled with herbs and cheese are one of our favorite summer treats (often topped with sweet balsamic tomato jam), we like to make a double batch of these biscuits. We bake the first batch in the morning for breakfast and stick the second unbaked batch (already cut into circles) in the fridge or freezer for later. I’ve made the biscuits both the morning and night before with great success.
Hope you enjoy the taste of our summer farm life.
Recipe: Summer Vegetarian Cobbler with Basil Parmesan Biscuits
6 tbsp. butter
1/2 bunch scallions, white and dark green parts, sliced
1 large zucchini, quartered and sliced, about 4 cups
1 large summer squash, quartered and sliced, about 3 cups
1 tsp. minced garlic (or 2 tablespoons fresh garlic scapes)
1/2 cup flour
2 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
1 cup water
3 cups roughly chopped packed collard greens, stems removed (kale, chard or any other dark leafy green you have on hand will work fine)
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup finely shredded Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan Basil Biscuits
9 tbps. butter
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. sugar
1 tbps. baking powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan
3 tsp. chiffonade basil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Begin preparing the biscuits by cutting 9 tablespoons of butter into small cubes and putting them in a small bowl or measuring cup. Place in the freezer until ready to use.
3. While the butter for your biscuits chills, begin the bulk of your dish. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large oven-proof skillet (I love to use my cast-iron skillet for this recipe). Add scallions, zucchini, summer squash, and a pinch of salt. Saute over medium low heat for 10 minutes until well softened, stirring occasionally.
4. Add garlic to zucchini mixture and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add flour and stir until it evenly coats the veggies (about 2 minutes). Add stock and stir. The mixture should bubble gently and thicken slightly (if it doesn’t, turn up the heat a bit).
5. Add the water and stir again to combine. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture comes together. Then add the collard greens, milk, Parmesan and a good helping of pepper. Continue to simmer the mixture gently for 2-3 minutes. You want it to be thick (rather than runny) but still saucy. Feel free to add more milk if you feel it’s gotten too thick. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired.
6. Prepare your biscuits by combining flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda together in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Remove butter from freezer and incorporate using two forks or a pastry cutter. I use my fingers, pinching the butter into pea-sized pieces.
7. Add the Parmesan, basil and buttermilk to the biscuit mixture. Stir until a loose dough forms (it will likely be crumbly and dry), and then turn out onto an unfloured counter. Knead gently until all dough comes together. Roll out into 1/2-inch-thick circle. Cut out 10-12 biscuits, brush with egg wash and place on top of zucchini mixture.
8. Bake for 20 minutes until biscuits are golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes to set. Then devour immediately.
Makes enough for 4-6 people. Takes 1 hour.
Lauren Rudersdorf is co-owner of Raleigh’s Hillside Farm, a freelance writer and food blogger at The Leek and The Carrot, and a member of Whisk, a food blogger collective.
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