Stephanie Izard Reveals the Secret to Excellent Biscuits
Stephanie Izard can do no wrong when it comes to big, bold flavors — and brunch is no exception. For this week’s episode of Mad Genius Live, the heavily decorated chef (she was a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2011, the first female winner of Top Chef, and recently became an Iron Chef) stopped by the Test Kitchen to make the breakfast sandwich of our dreams, otherwise known as Szechuan-Style Breakfast Biscuits. The recipe comes from Izard's new cookbook, Gather and Graze: 120 Recipes for Tasty Good Times.
Served at Little Goat, one of Izard’s three Chicago restaurants (the other two are Girl and the Goat and Duck Duck Goat), this dish is a fresh take on the classic sausage biscuit. Izard likes to call the sandwich, “This Little Piggy Went to China.”
In making the biscuits, one of the first steps is to cut the cold butter into the dry mixture of flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. While Izard suggests using a pastry cutter to chop the butter, she personally prefers to go old-school: “You don’t want to put it in a mixer. It’s one of those that you want to just kind of get in there with your hands. Get down and dirty.”
Beware that your freezer door might also get down and dirty, since this recipe calls for a few rounds of chilling. “It’s so important when making biscuits to keep [the dough] nice and cold,” Izard says.
While the scallion-and-cheddar biscuits are buttery and delicious, Food & Wine Culinary Director Justin Chapple says that the Szechuan Chile Sauce is “the trick.” Izard transformed Chinese-inspired flavors into a breakfast sauce by adding maple syrup to ingredients such as broad bean paste and fish sauce.
As for the hoisin mayo, the simplest option is to buy both ingredients and mix them together, although Izard makes her own hoisin at the restaurant and thickens the sauce with dried dates.
Perhaps the best part about Izard's knife-and-fork breakfast sandwiches is that most of the components can be made in advance. “If you’re having friends over for brunch on Sunday or Saturday,” Izard says, “you don’t want to have to get up super early and make everything the morning of.” In fact, you can store the biscuit dough in the freezer for up to a month.