Almost every Friday, Alex and I go out to dinner. We call it date night, but it’s really just because I’m usually too exhausted from the week to cook. An added benefit, is that this is where I get a bunch of inspiration for my cooking. So, Friday night in Boston, we observed the weekly tradition. We had reservations at the Island Creek Oyster Bar. Every Bostonian we spoke with asked where we planned to eat, and when they heard our selection, they all responded with “Oh, good pick. That place is amazing!” (BTW: Thank you Yelp!)
So, we sat down and perused the menu, which is actually quite short. The wine and beer list is about 10 times longer. We ordered some oysters to share (super fresh), and we both ordered the short rib and lobster pasta (which was amazing). Just before the waiter left, he asked if we wanted anything else. I really didn’t… however, for some reason I asked him: “Is there anything we should be getting which we haven’t ordered?” This was his nonchalant response: “People really like our biscuit, but don’t plan on having dessert if you order it.”
Well, thinking I might save myself some calories, we went with the biscuit. Well, we both (the waiter and I) significantly understated the importance and caloric count, respectively, of this biscuit. Upon a salad plate arrives a rectangle biscuit about 3x4x2 inches, bathing in a golden syrup. The top is crusted, crackly, and golden brown, and on the sides, you can see layer upon layer of flaky pastry. I asked the waiter what that golden syrup was, to which he responded “rosemary honey,” as if this was a normal thing.
I took my first bite. Oh. My. God. It’s almost like a normal biscuit and a palmier pastry got together and had a giant sized delicious baby. To call this a biscuit is really unfair to other biscuits. It has to be one of the best things I have ever eaten. I immediately googled this “biscuit” and found the recipe had been printed years ago by Saveur magazine (Thank you Saveur!). So, I’ve reprinted it below. No modifications needed. It is pure perfection.
And no, you won’t want to plan on dessert.
Island Creek Oyster Bar Honey Buttermilk Biscuits
Chef Jeremy Sewall of the Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston shared with us his secret for his excellent biscuits: Use grated frozen butter in the batter to prevent the dough from getting overworked and tough.
- 5 cups flour
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 5 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 16 tbsp. unsalted butter, frozen
- 1 3⁄4 cups buttermilk
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped rosemary
Heat oven to 400°. Whisk flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl. Using a box grater, grate 10 tbsp. butter into flour mixture, and gently mix with your hands. Add buttermilk, and gently fold to combine to form a soft dough.
Turn dough onto a floured surface; pat into an 8″ x 6″ square (about 2″ thick). Cut into 6 squares; place 3″ apart on a parchment paper—lined baking sheet. Bake until puffed and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Melt remaining butter in a small pan; mix with the honey and rosemary. Brush over hot biscuits; return to oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes more.
Makes 6 large biscuits.