I think summer is winding down around here and Fall is just right around the corner. Usually I would be beside myself, desperate for Fall to make its appearance. But I must admit, this Summer in Virginia has been quite pleasant. We really only had a handful of weeks where that characteristic Virginia hot and swampy weather predominated. But don’t get me wrong, I am ready for Fall. I mean you can’t trust Summer. It lulls you into a false sense of “oh Summer is pretty well done and it’s actually going to be pretty pleasant around here” and then WHAM…Summer rises back up and smacks you down with a string of oppressive mind numbingly humid days which melt the few remaining leaves right off of those trees. And yes…it can happen in late September and on into October. So I say bring on the Fall weather! I am ready for jackets, apples, falling leaves and sitting round the fire pit in the evenings. I think I can comfortably turn the oven back on and cook some great warming comfort food dishes. You know like cobblers. And remember, not all cobblers are sweet. This Cherry Tomato Cobbler with Cornmeal-Cheddar Biscuits is a splendid example of a delicious savoury cobbler and is the perfect meal for the transition from the Summer to Fall season .
The husband and I did plant a few cherry tomato plants this year and they were champs. We had an abundance of tomatoes all summer and didn’t have nearly as much trouble with our cadre of tomato thieves as we did last year.
I don’t know if they ate their fill last year or what, but they pretty much left us in peace. And the little tomato plants are still at it, but I’m not sure if it will continue much longer. I think this might be my last big harvest of the season, so I wanted to make something special with them and this cobbler was certainly that. Those sweet cherry tomatoes rest in a balsamic/red wine thyme sauce and are nestled between a layer of caramelized onion and cheesy buttery cornmeal biscuits. Yum, yum, yum.
Warm, comforting and filling yet not as heavy as a Chili or a Chicken and Dumplings type of dish. (Shhhh! Don’t let the husband hear Chicken & Dumplings. He feels that dish has no “season” in which it should be served, but should be served all seasons, all the time. I think this cobbler has distracted him for the moment) Another great thing about this dish is that you can cook it in one pan. I used a cast iron Le Creuset skillet. As long as your cast iron skillet is seasoned well, you don’t have to worry about the acidity of the tomatoes damaging the pan. Or you could always use a 13 X 9″ baking dish. But whatever you do, while you are waiting for Fall to get itself all settled in, gather up those last little summertime cherry tomatoes and treat yourself to this delightful cobbler.
Cherry Tomato Cobbler with Cornmeal-Cheddar Chive Biscuits
recipe slightly adapted from: The Kitchn
- 4 pints cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or you can sub. in 1/4 cup red wine)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- 4 springs fresh thyme, leaves only
- Handful of fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
- Parmesan/Reggiano Cheese, grated, to sprinkle over the top.
For the biscuits:
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 1 cup + 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
- 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk, plus extra to brush
Heat the oven to 375°F with a rack placed in the middle of the oven
Pick the stems off of the cherry tomatoes and rinse them under running water.
Warm the olive oil in a 12-inch cast-iron or high-sided stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. When warm, add the onions. Toss gently to coat with butter. Caramelize the onions, checking and stirring them every 5 – 10 minutes. Continue to cook for about 50 minutes, until they are a dark brown color.
Stir the garlic into the onions and cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Pour in the wine (or balsamic) and cook until the wine has mostly evaporated. Stir in the flour and cook until the flour is paste-like. Remove the pan from heat. Stir in the cherry tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes, carefully stirring and folding until the onions are evenly mixed with the tomatoes. Sprinkle grated Parmesan/Reggiano cheese over the top. Sprinkle fresh basil over the top.
To prepare the biscuits, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Cut the cold butter into chunks and scatter it over the flour. Pulse a few times until the butter has been cut into pea-sized pieces.
Transfer the flour-and-butter mixture to a bowl and stir in 1 cup of the cheddar (reserve the other 1/2 cup for sprinkling over the top). Form a well in the middle and pour in 3/4 cup of buttermilk for firmer biscuits, or 1 cup of buttermilk for looser biscuits. Use a spatula to gently stir the buttermilk into the flour; continue stirring until all the buttermilk has been incorporated and no more dry flour remains.
Drop the dough over the tomatoes, making 7 to 8 biscuits. Brush the biscuits with a little buttermilk. Place the skillet on a baking sheet to catch drips, and then transfer to the oven.
Cook for 55 to 60 minutes, until the tomatoes are very bubbly and the tops of the biscuits are nicely browned. About 10 minutes before the end of baking, sprinkle the tops of the biscuits with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar.
Remove from the oven and let the cobbler rest for at least 15 minutes before eating. Leftovers will keep for about a week.
Tomato Cobbler with Cornmeal-Cheddar Chive Biscuits brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )