Gas Station Biscuits

According to Vivian Howard, these breakfast biscuits are based on an Eastern North Carolina gas station tradition where a knob of hoop cheese is stuffed in the middle of a day-old biscuit and baked again in foil, these biscuits get crispy and the cheese melts around the edges like a lace skirt.

Gas Station Biscuits
Photo: Carson Downing
Hands On Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
60 mins
Servings:
8
Yield:
8 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (3 oz.) (Vivian uses a microplane.)

  • 2 cup shredded Fontina cheese (8 oz.)

  • cup mayonnaise

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour, plus more to flour your work surface

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 10 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 1 ½ cup buttermilk

  • Nonstick baking spray

  • cup Little Green Dress (see recipe), drained of all its liquid

Little Green Dress

  • 2 medium shallots

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted

  • 1 ½ tablespoon capers, rinsed

  • 2 oil-packed anchovy filets

  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1 cup packed)

  • 2 1/2 ounce packages fresh mint (about 1/2 cup packed)

  • ½ cup tasty extra-virgin olive oil

  • Grated zest of one lemon

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut eight 6-inch squares of foil and arrange them on a baking sheet. (Each square of foil will hold its own biscuit.)

  2. In a medium bowl stir together the Parmigiano, Fontina, mayonnaise, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl whisk together the 2 1/2 cups flour, the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and 1 tablespoon kosher salt to combine. Using a fork or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry mixture until butter pieces are the size of small peas. Add the buttermilk and stir until dough comes together.

  4. Once the dough is manageable, flour your work surface and turn the dough onto it. Fold dough in on itself about four times, kneading gently and taking care not to overwork it. Incorporate more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to work surface. Roll dough into a 10-inch square that is 1/2-inch thick.

  5. Cut the dough into sixteen 2 1/2-inch squares. Coat each of the foil squares on the baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Put one biscuit square in the middle of each foil square. Top each biscuit with a scant 3 tablespoons of the cheese mixture and about 1 tablespoon Little Green Dress. Top each with one of the remaining biscuits. Do not press down or try to crimp the edges. Lift the sides of the foil square up the sides of the biscuit. Repeat with remaining biscuits. Each biscuit stack should look like a foil package with an open top. (Do not close or seal the packages. If you do, the biscuits will steam instead of brown.)

  6. Slide the pan onto the middle rack of your oven and bake 22 to 25 minutes, until they are browned a bit on top. Serve them warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 sandwiches.

Little Green Dress

  1. In a small food processor mince the shallots and garlic, then stir them together in a small bowl with the red wine vinegar. (We want the shallots to pickle a bit, so set mixture aside about 20 minutes.)

  2. Meanwhile, mince the olives, capers, and anchovies in the food processor. Transfer to a medium bowl. Pick the leaves and small stems from the parsley and the leaves from the mint; mince in the food processor. (It may take a little while to get them all fully processed.) Transfer herbs to the bowl with the olive mixture.

  3. Add the pickled shallot mixture, lemon zest, lemon juice, hot sauce, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to the bowl with everything else. Stir it all together and let the vinegary puddle of green sit for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving. Makes 2 cups.

Notes from Vivian Howard

Based on an Eastern North Carolina gas station tradition where a knob of hoop cheese is stuffed in the middle of a day-old biscuit and baked again in foil, these biscuits get crispy and the cheese melts around the edges like a lace skirt. I've gilded the lily on something pretty shiny already and stuffed some LGD in there with the cheese. The biscuit itself is the brainchild of my coworker Justise Robbins. They are excellent all on their own. The cheese filling is a modified version of my tomato pie topping and the LGD Is a gift from heaven.

Little Green Dress can be kept refrigerated in a sealed container up to 1 month. (Don't relegate it to the freezer. Little Green Dress doesn't respond to the lack of attention and cold environment.) Just make sure all the green stuff is submerged in a bit of olive oil to prevent browning.

Notes from Vivian Howard

This recipe is specific in call for a certain variety of olive, shallots instead of onion, and a particular hue of vinegar. But know that it is LGD's equation that makes it heroic, not its details. To make your own variant of LGD, you need fresh, fragrant herbs; something onion-esque; the combined brine power of olives, capers, and anchovy; and the juxtaposed acid of both vinegar and citrus; and the fruity fat of a good-quality olive oil. Don't get hung up on the variety of vinegar you don't have or the fact that you've got onion and no shallot. Just follow the equation and taste what happens.

This is not the place for dried herbs. The parsley and mint must be fresh and fragrant. And don't even thin about lemon juice from the bottle.

Don't let some of the ingredients deter you; I've knowingly fed this to haters of olives and anchovies alike, and everybody wanted more. However, if you are a vegetarian, omit the anchovies and make LGD anyway.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

601 Calories
42g Fat
38g Carbs
19g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 601
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 42g 54%
Saturated Fat 20g 100%
Cholesterol 94mg 31%
Sodium 1561mg 68%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 5.4mg 27%
Calcium 484mg 37%
Iron 2.6mg 14%
Potassium 207mg 4%
Fatty acids, total trans 1g
Folate, total 84.2mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.9mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.1mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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