Fall is decidedly here in the Pacific Northwest, but that hasn’t stopped folks from lining up in the rain to snatch up warm treats from the bakery. I find myself dreaming of what to bake even on my days off, which I suppose is further evidence that autumn has arrived.
This has prompted me to read through my cookbooks as I wonder how best to kick off the coming dark months of indulgent holiday festivities and great eating–but after procuring a fish head and trimmings from a wild caught salmon fished within 20 miles of my house, I needn’t look any further for cooking inspiration.
Last night, I made Julia Child’s fish stock, simmering the fish remains gently for about an hour with a few select aromatics. As the stock grew into itself in the pot, I thought eagerly of the chowder that it is destined to become.
As the stock simmered on the stovetop gently, I leafed through a Tom Douglas cookbook (one of my favorite “big time” chefs) until my eye was caught by a savory scone recipe which he cultivated specifically to accompany seafood chowder.
After yesterday’s deluge, the crisp fall air gave way to a bright, sunny morning, and I knew today was the perfect day to tackle those scones.
I snipped my herbs and zested the lemon as sunshine poured in the window. There are few scents that bring me as much genuine pleasure as that of a freshly zested lemon.
The break in stormy weather provided such sweet relief today, I even made it out into the garden after shaping my scones to harvest some late flowers. Not a bad way to spend my day off, to tell the truth.
We’ll see if I can save some for chowder later…
Herbed Spelt Scones
Adapted from Tom Douglas’ recipe from “Tom’s Big Dinners”
Yields 12 scones
- 2 ½ c spelt flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 10 Tbs cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 ½ tsp lemon zest (about ½ lemon)
- 2 Tbs + 1 tsp snipped fresh chives
- 1/3 c freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 c buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, pepper, baking powder and soda into a large bowl.
Once incorporated, cut butter into dough using a pastry cutter or your fingers until it appears coarse and sandy.
Stir in herbs and lemon zest.
Add buttermilk and gently mix using a rubber spatula, a wooden spoon, or your hands until dry ingredients are incorporated, being careful not to over mix. Dough should feel wet and slightly pillowy.
Dust a flat surface with more spelt flour. Divide the dough into two balls, transferring on ball to the floured surface. Flatten the ball into a flat disk, dusting the top with flour if necessary, until it is about ¾” thick.
Cut into 6 equal triangular pieces, then repeat with second dough ball. Bake 20-30 minutes. Enjoy with butter and a glass of herbed cucumber water.