Recipe ideas rattle around in my head for years sometimes. This is one of those. I liked the idea of a cobbler made with juicy summer tomatoes with a biscuit-like topping. I tried a version with sliced tomatoes and it wasn’t what I wanted, so I left the idea behind. At some point, I realized cherry tomatoes would be a better bet.
So I looked around for recipes and ideas. Lots of them had rolled biscuits, which just seemed like more trouble for me than I wanted.
So I filed the idea away again. When I returned to the concept, I knew I wanted to make something a little different than plain buttermilk biscuit, that would really add some interest to the tomatoes. I love tomato blue cheese soup, so I realized it could be a great combo. The tomato underlayer is simple so the tomatoes really shine, but the blue cheese biscuit topping soaks up those delicious juices with a tang all its own from the cheese and the buttermilk.
I think this dish has that elegant but homey feel I love. Make this in a nice oven to table dish and serve it right to the table. It makes a great main dish with a green salad, or as a side dish to grilled meats, and it works for brunch or dinner. I like to pick out a colorful selection of red, yellow and orange baby tomatoes in all shapes at the farmers market, but this is also lovely with a monochrome palate of simple reds.
Cherry tomato cobbler with blue cheese drop biscuits
For the tomatoes:
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, diced
1/2 cup white wine or vermouth [editor's note: can substitute cooking wine]
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leave
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 pounds cherry tomatoes
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
For the biscuit topping:
2-1/4 cups soft wheat flour (like White Lily)
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
8 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cold buttermilk
1. Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat in an oven to table skillet or braiser. Add the diced onions and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Stir to coat the onions well and cook until they are soft and just beginning to brown. When the onions are brown at the edges, pour in the white wine and stir well, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, then uncover and cook until the wine is completely reduced. Add ½ cup of water and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and caramelized and the water is gone, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook one minute more. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Leave to cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. When the onions are cool, add the cherry tomatoes then sprinkle over the flour. Stir to combine the onions and tomatoes and coat everything with the flour. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
3. While the tomatoes are cooking, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and generous grinds of black pepper together in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter pieces and rub it into the flour with your good clean hands until it is well distributed. Add the crumbled blue cheese and rub it into the mixture as well. Stir in the buttermilk until you have a soft, dough with no dry ingredients visible.
4. Remove the tomatoes from the oven after their 25 minutes. Scoop the dough over the top of the tomatoes – I like to use a large ice cream scoop. Return the pan to the oven and cook a further 15- 18 minutes until the biscuits are firm and golden.
5. Let the cobbler rest for about 10 minutes before serving warm.
Related post on The Runaway Spoon: Fresh Tomato Buttermilk Biscuits