Extra Crispy doesn't take the term "best" lightly. When we say it, we mean it, and in the case of Kelly Fields's biscuits and sausage gravy, we say it with our mouths full and our hearts full of joy. As co-founder of Willa Jean in New Orleans, Fields developed a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night menu (and bakery counter) that features an entire "Build a Biscuit" section, complete with toppings like pimento cheese, blue crab with hollandaise and fried egg, and the mightiest, meatiest of all: sausage gravy.
Fields's biscuit technique may be a bit unorthodox—she folds and re-folds the dough into a book shape to create plenty of laminated layers, then cuts them into squares—but the result is an almost impossibly tall, crunchy exterior that gives way to a fluffy, flavorful center. Eat them straight from the pan, bake and freeze them, or even save the dough in the fridge for a few days in case your favorite singer pops by. (Just watch the video.)
Preheat oven to 365°F.
Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix by hand until combined. Grate cold butter and add to dry mixture. Add buttermilk to mixture and combine until all of the dry ingredients are hydrated.
Put the dough onto a floured surface and roll into a rectangle measuring 12 inches by 8 inches.
Fold the top of the rectangle halfway toward the middle; fold the bottom of the rectangle on top. Flour the top and invert.
Roll out into a rectangle approximately 12 inches by 8 inches. With seams facing down, roll into a square. Cut into squares of desired size. Brush with buttermilk.
Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, and the middle has set—around 30 minutes.
- Yields: 8 servings
Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until pork is no longer pink.
Once meat is cooked, sprinkle the flour over meat until all meat is coated and a light fond is created (do not let it get dark).
Turn heat to high, gradually whisk in milk, whisking constantly, 7 to 10 minutes or until gravy is thickened to your liking. Add in salt, pepper, red crushed pepper, and Tabasco. Cook for another 5 minutes. Taste to make sure flour has been cooked out; if not, cook for another 5 minutes or until gravy doesn't have a flour taste. Adjust seasoning as needed.
If gravy is too thick, thin it out with milk. Make sure milk and gravy are both hot.
If gravy is too thin, melt 4 ounces of butter, stir in 4 ounces of flour, and cook for 5 minutes (until flour taste is gone). Slowly add into hot gravy. Cook for 5 minutes or until gravy thickens (you may or may not use all of the roux).