After making the amazingly delicious Cheddar Bay Biscuits that graced the top of my Seafood Chowder, I was left with a good amount of buttermilk. Why they haven’t picked up on selling buttermilk in smaller quantities continues to baffle me, but that is by no means a complaint! That thick and tangy liquid comes in handy for so many scrumptious uses! You can make your own creme fraiche easily by combining a little buttermilk with some fresh heavy cream and leaving it out to ferment overnight on the counter and voila! Homemade creme fraiche. In fact, I think buttermilk makes an even better dairy base for gravy than milk does. It gives the gravy this addicting tang that lightens up the otherwise heavy flavors and that notion gave me an idea for making breakfast this morning.
It is Sunday after all and for once I actually got up early this morning! Imagine that! To celebrate, I think a proper Sunday breakfast is the only thing that will do, good thing I have eggs and pancetta…and lots of buttermilk!
Soft Boiled Eggs and Pancetta over Smoked Paprika Biscuits with Black Pepper Buttermilk Gravy
For the Biscuits (Adapted from Michael Ruhlman’s Biscuit Ratio):
- 9 ounces all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 ounces chilled butter, diced
- 6 ounces cold buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
In a mixing bowl set on a scale, pour in the flour. Add the baking powder, smoked paprika and salt. Weigh out the butter and place into the freezer for 10 minutes before rubbing and pinching the butter into the flour until it is well distributed and the largest chunks are no bigger than the size of peas. Pour in the buttermilk and stir with a fork to combine just until the dough comes together. Form into a rectangle, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill and hydrate, one hour.
Unwrap the dough and flour lightly. Maintaining the rectangular shape roll out to three times the original size. Fold the dough into thirds, as if you’re folding a letter, and then roll it out again. Fold into thirds once more before wrapping it again in plastic wrap and placing back into the refrigerator for another 45-60 minutes. Repeat the folding process again. Roll out the dough to an inch thick and cut four squares. Place the squares into a cast iron skillet, just touching and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.
For the Black Pepper Buttermilk Gravy:
- reserved fat from cooking pancetta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon each ground mustard and crushed red pepper flake
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- salt to taste
In a pot over medium heat add the butter and any reserved fat from cooking the pancetta. When the butter is melted and foamy, whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Pour in the buttermilk and whisk together. When the gravy reaches a light boil it should have thickened nicely. Lower the heat to a simmer and whisk in all the seasonings. Taste and salt accordingly, keep warm on low until ready to plate.
For the Pancetta:
- 4 slices pancetta
Arrange the slices on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Turn the sides of the aluminum foil up so that you can easily catch any drippings. Cook in a 400 degree oven 5-7 minutes until they have shrunk and turned golden and crispy. Pour any fat from the aluminum foil into the pot that you’re going to make the gravy in.
For the Soft Boiled Egg:
- 2 eggs, or more depending on how hungry you are!
In a pot, place enough water so that an egg will be completely submerged. Bring to a hard boil. Carefully drop in an two eggs straight out of the refrigerator. Lower the heat to a bare simmer and cook the eggs for exactly six minutes and twenty five seconds. When time is up, pour off the water and rinse the eggs under cool water to stop the cooking. Let the eggs rest one minute before carefully cracking the shell and peeling.
To plate this beauty up. slice one of the biscuits in half and lay down cut side up on a plate. Place two slices of the pancetta atop the biscuit and nestle the egg on top of the pancetta. Drown everything with gravy and place the biscuit lid back on, like the crispy, golden crown this breakfast deserves!!
Once you break into that egg, you won’t be able to shovel this in your mouth fast enough! Make this for someone you love next Sunday and then submit to weekend bliss (ahem, food coma).