Pepper gravy on scones? You must try

Published 12:04 am Saturday, June 13, 2015

Shown is a wood-fire scone. | Connie Anderson/Star-News

Shown is a wood-fire scone. |
Connie Anderson/Star-News

A visit to Charleston would not be complete without a visit to at least one of Sean Brock’s restaurants. He has a new one called Minero. A little different than Husk or McCrady’s but a winner I believe. Minero is located on 155 E. Bay, so an easy find. The restaurant Minero is named after the Spanish word for “miner.” Minero represents the storied history of the taco, which supposes that Mexican silver miners named the dish in the 18th century. The word “taco” referred to the dynamite that miners used to excavate the ore in the mines, which was made of pieces of paper wrapped around gunpowder and inserted into the holes carved in the rock face.

The Minero team tasted more than 40 varieties of corn before choosing their three different producers: Masienda, Geechie Boy Mill, and Anson Mills. Using a traditional nixtamalization process to make fresh masa every day, Minero grinds the corn in-house which results in a truly authentic corn tortilla.

The tacos were wonderful and inexpensive, only $3 to $4 per taco. Not your local Taco Bell, let me assure you! The choices were items like charcoaled chicken taco, green Chorizo taco with potatoes and grilled onions, grilled steak taco, pork carnitas taco, taco al pastor, and fried catfish taco. We tried three and all were just great. There is a drawer that pulls out from each side of the table and in it you will find your silverware and napkins—interesting, different. No reservations are needed and I would say it would be the place for lunch on your next visit to Charleston.

We visited Husk for brunch on Sunday, which we had done last year. The menu was somewhat limited and a lot of items had an egg added, but it is brunch, I suppose. I chose the Husk cheeseburger, since I had heard that it was so good and it was. I will give the recipe near the Fourth of July, but the secret is the pork belly added to the beef. Yum! My husband chose a Tennessee country fried steak with heirloom kale, roasted peppers and courgettes, sweet onion marmalade, and a fried egg. You could have fried chicken with a wedge of cornbread, shrimp and grits, or an omelet with charred ramps. Perhaps the best thing we ordered was a wood fired scone with ramps and Benton’s bacon, and black pepper gravy. This was shared as an appetizer, but it was creative and tasty. The waiter said the scone was like a Red Lobster biscuit. Well, it was better than that.

Our last restaurant was The Ordinary, a restaurant we have been to twice before. Mike Lata is the chef here and he is known for FIG. I finally got to have my soft-shell crabs and they were lightly sautéed and excellent. My husband had a wreck fish which is very popular and only lives in the low country waters. It was excellent also.

The recipe worth giving is the scone dressed with white pepper gravy with Benton’s bacon crumbled on top. We do not have ramps to add to this recipe. It is in the onion family so you could sauté leeks or green onions. You could do any scone recipe or a biscuit recipe of your choice. The important element will be the black pepper gravy.

Black Pepper Gravy Recipe

2 tablespoons butter or bacon fat

2 tablespoons flour, all-purpose

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon black peppercorns or more if you like, freshly cracked

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter/bacon fat.

Whisk in the flour.

Sauté the flour until lightly browned. Remove pan from the heat.

Pour the milk into the pan in a steady stream, whisking constantly.

Return pan to the heat.

Whisk until the gravy thickens. Whisk in the cream, salt, and pepper.

Keep warm until needed.

To assemble: Place the scone or biscuit into a small bowl and pour two or three tablespoons of the gravy over the scone. Sprinkle crisp Benton’s bacon over and decorate with the green parts of scallions. I love bacon and have tried many but I do believe Benton’s is the tastiest. You can order it. The problem with that is the shipping cost is almost as much as the bacon.