Elevate your biscuits, like these kabocha sage biscuits. Here’s the recipe from Betty S. Liu (photo © Betty S. Liu).
Biscuits and gravy is a popular breakfast dish in the southern United States, a comfort food of biscuits smothered in sawmill or sausage gravy (see the different types of gravy, below).
It’s a hearty gravy, made from the drippings of cooked pork sausage, white flour, milk, and often bits of sausage, bacon, ground beef or other meat. The meat gives heft to the dish as a main dish.
Last year we featured biscuits and gravy as a Tip Of The Day. Check out a classic recipe and the history of biscuits and gravy.
This week, Anson Mills sent us a recipe for oyster gravy on toast, using their local Sea Island oysters. It sure is an improvement on butter or jam.
If fish for breakfast sounds strange, think of:
Time out for an accolade: Anson Mills, founded by food visionary Glenn Roberts, has managed to reclaim America’s heirloom grains from oblivion. Bred for flavor, not for efficiency and profit, whatever products bear their name are the best of the breed.
If you want the best, or know someone who does, take a look. You’ll be overwhelmed at the riches, so be prepared to return.
Says Glenn Roberts: “We won’t quibble with anyone outside our region over Southern ownership of gravy culture. But we will go to the mat defending the high art and undervalued virtues of seafood gravy.
“Stop and think about it: When was the last time you heard anyone talk about seafood gravy? When did you last hear someone utter the phrase ‘gravy culture’?”
Seafood gravy “flowed exclusively from the Sea Islands of Carolina and Georgia,” says John. About the oyster gravy recipe, he elaborates:
“…This recipe is really about secret ingredients within a lost cannon of Sea Island slave food culture: one from the big house larder, the other from hidden gardens.
“From the big house, the aforementioned beurre manié—made with local butter and white lammas wheat flour grown on the Sea Islands—to thicken this gravy and create a silk and satin finish to match the voluptuousness of freshly shucked oysters.”
In his recipe, the deglazing liquid is white wine and the flour is added at the end, in the form of beurre manié (a mash of flour and butter).
And, he serves the oyster gravy over toast (photo #2), in the manner of another old breakfast favorite, creamed chipped beef on toast. But biscuits are an easy substitute.
Here’s the recipe. Try it for breakfast or brunch, or:
The freshest ones! If you live on or near one of the coasts, ask for the best. Size doesn’t matter since you’ll be quartering them. Any plump, briny-aroma oysters will do.
Anson Mills chose local oysters, but you can make seafood gravy with any fish or shellfish or snails. Or, order the best oysters, whole or already shucked, from Willapa Oysters.
Fish gravies are parts of global cuisines from Indian fish curries to African fish gravy, a breakfast and dinner dish.
TIP: You can add oysters or other seafood to a hearty mushroom gravy recipe.
Gravy is a category of sauce made in its simplest form from flour (a thickener), fat (and pan drippings) from meat and poultry, and seasonings (salt and pepper). Vegetables can be added, as well as wine and additional thickeners, such as cornstarch.
The word originally referred to a sauce made from the drippings (fat and uses) from cooked meat and poultry, there are now vegetarian and vegan gravies, and gravies that add milk or buttermilk, even tomato.
Jus (pronounced ZHOO), is the French term for a meat gravy that has been refined and condensed into a clear liquid.
All gravies are sauces, but not all sauces are gravy.
*A traditional Japanese breakfast is what Americans might order or dinner at a Japanese restaurant: rice, grilled fish, miso soup, pickles and a Japanese-style omelette (tamago). Here’s more information.
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