Martha Stewart Living (July 2011)
Even in the height of summer, some dishes justify turning on the oven.
Although usually we're advocates for an oven-free July and August -- trying to instead do all our cooking on the grill or to eat things that require no cooking at all -- we were instantly drawn to this tomato cobbler from Martha Stewart Living.
Pitched as a "new classic," along with some delectable-looking dishes like these Corn Ice Cream Shortcakes, the cobbler called out to us.
One look at that savory, biscuit-y crust crowning farm-fresh cherry tomatoes? We couldn't fire up the oven fast enough!
In our neck of the woods, there's no better time to eat tomatoes than right now. We're getting a bunch of them each week in our CSA share, picking a few here and there from our garden, and even occasionally picking up a few when we hit the farmers market (sometimes, we just can't resist).
For the tomatoes in our version of this dish, we used Sun Golds. We wish we could say it was because we had enough of them growing in our garden, but we went with this variety because we were able to get three pints of Sun Golds from our CSA. We threw in a handful that we had grown ourselves, but we were still short of the three pounds that are called for. To make up the difference, we sliced up some larger tomatoes from the farmers market and added them at the bottom of the dish.
And let's be clear about one thing: This is by no means a light summer dish, mostly due to the gruyere cream biscuits that top the tomatoes. With a stick of butter, a cup of cheese, and a cup and a half of cream, the topping is rich, decadent and oh so right.
The tomato mixture beneath is dynamite as well. Caramelized onions are tossed with the tomatoes, along with a pinch of red pepper for spice. Roasting brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes, which is balanced nicely by the savory onions.
We do have a few tips for this dish:
- Caramelizing the onions takes up the first 30 minutes of a 2 hour and 20 minute cook time. The onions can easily be done a day in advance and cooled in the refrigerator overnight.
- We think the tomato variety and size here is inconsequential. Just about any summer tomato is going to be fantastic when paired with these ingredients, whether it's a large or small variety. If you use larger tomatoes, just slice them up into one-inch pieces. That said, different varieties may give off different amounts of liquid, so keep that in mind when selecting a dish to cook this in.
- When you pop it in the oven, put your dish on a baking sheet. We found that our tomatoes released a lot of juice, and the dish boiled over, causing the house to fill up with smoke (whoops!).
You could make a lighter version of this dish by cutting the biscuit topping in half. But we say don't bother. You owe it yourself -- no, you owe it to summer tomatoes and you owe it to us -- to make this dish.
Now get to it.
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
For the filling
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 pounds cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
For the biscuit topping
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Coarse salt
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (2 1/4 ounces), plus 1 tablespoon, for sprinkling
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, plus more for brushing
Make the filling: Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
Toss onion mixture, tomatoes, flour, and red-pepper flakes with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and some pepper.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the biscuit topping: Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until small clumps form. Stir in cheese, then add cream, stirring with a fork to combine until dough forms. (Dough will be slightly sticky.)
Transfer tomato mixture to a 2-quart baking dish (2 inches deep). Spoon 7 clumps of biscuit dough (about 1/2 cup each) over top in a circle, leaving center open. Brush dough with cream, and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon cheese. Bake until tomatoes are bubbling in the center and biscuits are golden brown, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool for 20 minutes.