Dish of the Week: Biscuits at Bar Mercado
If there’s one thing in the South that I cannot get enough of, it’s biscuits. Buttery, flaky buttermilk biscuits are the best, and they make ‘em right proper here in the South. The fun, though, is not in the ranking, but in exploring all the renditions out there – including biscuits with a Spanish bent on the brunch menu at newly opened Bar Mercado at Krog Street Market .
What makes these biscuits unusual – and so appealing in flavor and looks – are the additions of pimentón butter and sheep’s cheese, plus the manner in which the dough gets treated like puff pastry.
The recipe, developed by chef Victoria Shore, starts with basic biscuit dough. But Shore folds in pimentón (Spanish paprika that's smokier than the norm) butter – made by whipping two kinds of pimentón into the butter – as well as grated Idiazabal, a Basque sheep’s cheese that also has a somewhat smoky flavor profile.
Once the dough is rolled out, more pimentón butter is spread over it, the dough gets folded and yet more butter swathed atop. Repeat, repeat, repeat, before cutting into rounds. The baked result is a golden round that can be pulled apart into layers with the same glorious satisfaction as when tearing into a flaky croissant.
Cheese and membrillo, as quince paste is known in Spanish, are a classic pairing. At Bar Mercado, they stay true to the Iberian concept by coupling the biscuit with a ramekin of membrillo or, as with the version I was served, a house-made orange marmalade balanced in sweetness and thick in texture but not so chunky as to be un-spreadable.
Shore will be leading the food squad at Recess, Bar Mercado’s sister stall at Krog, opening early next year . If her biscuits are any indication of what’s in store, I’ll look forward to taking my recess at Recess.
Bar Mercado, 99 Krog St. NE, Atlanta. 404-480-4866, barmercadoatl.com.