Cheddar Biscuits and Onion Gravy
A take on a Fly Trap favorite.
Chefs at some of the best restaurants in the world have written cookbooks, allowing the home cooks to try their hand at re-creating famous dishes in their own kitchen.
Cookbooks from names familiar to any Top Chef-viewer – Eric Ripert’s Le Bernadin: Four Star Simplicity,Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook, David Chang’s Momofuku – line the shelves at bookstores, inviting yet intimidating, and providing to most a chance to experience food that isn’t right in their backyards. But the list isn’t limited to the Michelin-starred restaurants.
Locally popular and hidden gem restaurants with devoted followings have published cookbooks, too. The Grit, a renowned vegetarian restaurant in Athens, GA, published a cookbook years ago that was so well-loved it deserved a special 20-year anniversary edition with updated recipes. The Grit holds a special place in my heart, and The Grit Cookbook is probably the most used in my kitchen.
North of the border, Rebar in Vancouver and Fresh in Toronto have shared their recipes with the world through popular cookbooks. The Inn Season Café, right around the corner in Royal Oak, published a cookbook in 2010, Vegetarian Traditions, with recipes from Chef George Vutetakis’ 20 years at the restaurant.
This column can be considered my official public plea for a Fly Trap cookbook. I’ve said it to friends for years, after finishing meal after delicious meal at the Fly Trap, but it’s time to get some more voices behind me. I ask this not to stop going to the Fly Trap – I have no delusions that I will perfect the Pho Bowl or curried tofu omelet at home – but as a fan of the restaurant, I’d love to see exactly what goes into each dish that makes it so uniquely tasty.
This recipe is my homage to one of my favorite specials at the Fly Trap, the Sunday morning Cheddar Biscuits and Gravy. It’s not identical to the real thing, but it’s a close replication, and for the other six days of the week when you can’t enjoy the real thing at the Fly Trap, it’s definitely a good stand-by.
Makes 12 large biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 cup butter, cold, cut into chunks (put it in the freezer 30 minutes before starting this recipe for best results)
2 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
1 heaping cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
Garlic butter for the top:
3 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and garlic powder.
Cube the cold butter and cut it into the flour mixture until it is coarse, with no large chunks of butter remaining. You can do this using a pastry cutter, a fork or your fingers. I find it easiest to use my hands!
Add the oil, cheese and milk to the bowl. Stir until well combined. If the mixture seems too dry (you shouldn't see any dry flour remaining), add a bit more milk, no more than a teaspoon at a time.
Drop the biscuit mix using a large spoon onto an ungreased baking sheet, or a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. You should be able to make 12 large biscuits from the dough.
Bake for 16 minutes at 400 degrees.
While the biscuits are baking, prepare the garlic butter for the top by melting 3 tablespoons of butter and stirring in garlic powder and chopped parsley.
Remove the biscuits from the oven and immediately brush the tops with the garlic butter.
1 small to medium yellow onion
3 plump garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup flour
4 tbsp. nutritional yeast
4 tbsp. soy sauce
2 cups water
1 tsp. sage
Salt and pepper
Slice the onion into thin slices – as thin as you can get with a knife.
Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Cook the onion 3-5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic, and cook for another minute or two, watching so it doesn't burn.
Add the flour, nutritional yeast and soy sauce to the pan to form a thick paste. Slowly pour in the water, whisking constantly. Season with sage, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, continuing to whisk regularly and cook for 10-15 minutes or until gravy thickens.
Serve with biscuits.