Cherry Tomato Cobbler
This easy-going cobbler puts little tomatoes front and center on the dance floor with a tangle of sweet fresh onions.
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- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, well chilled
- 2 cups thinly sliced Walla Walla or yellow onion (from about 1 large onion)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 pounds cherry tomatoes (about 2 pints), stemmed
- 1 cup all-purpose or white wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped (or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried)
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 3⁄4 cup buttermilk
- A few dashes of Tabasco or favorite mild hot sauce
Measure out 2 tablespoons of the butter, then return the rest to the refrigerator until ready to make the topping.
Place the butter in a 9-or10-inch skillet and melt over medium heat, tilting the pan to coat. Add the onion and turn with a wooden spoon or pair of tongs until well coated. Cook until very soft, about 20 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to avoid burning. Season with 1⁄4 teaspoon of the salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the pepper.
Transfer the onions and any residual butter to a 9-or 9½-inch pie plate and spread around until the bottom of the pan is covered.
Slice the tomatoes as needed (larger cherry tomatoes will cook more evenly if cut in half). Layer the tomatoes on top of the onions.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Meanwhile, make the biscuit topping. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, thyme, and the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Cut the remaining 4 tablespoons cold butter into small dice. With your hands, “cut in” the butter with the tips of your fingers until the mixture looks like fluffy sand. You should not be able to see clumps of butter. (You can also use a food processor, pulsing briefly to incorporate.) Stir in the cheese.
Make a well in the center of the flour, then add the buttermilk and hot sauce. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, gently stir the batter until it just comes together; it will be wet and sticky.
With a tablespoon, drop the batter all over the tomatoes, gently spreading until the fruit is thoroughly covered. (Don’t worry if you miss a spot; the batter spreads during baking.) Place the pie plate on a sheet pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes. The topping should be golden brown and firm to the touch, and the filling should be actively bubbling.
Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (if it lasts that long!). Reheats well.
KITCHEN NOTES: Like any fruit cobbler (after all, the tomato is botanically a fruit), there will be some residual juice at the bottom of the dish. You could spoon this juice over the biscuits or coat the tomatoes in a tablespoon of flour before adding to the pie plate to slow the juicy flow.
No buttermilk? Substitute 3⁄4 cup milk and 2 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar, stirred together.
(c) 2017 by Kim O’Donnel. All rights reserved. Excerpted from PNW Veg by permission of Sasquatch Books.