Tomato Cobbler

Tomatoes. Always Tomatoes.

This time of year, it's all tomatoes, all the time. Good toasted bread, spread with a layer of mayo, a thick slice of tomato and some salt. Wedges of tomatoes with lots of olive oil and a drizzle of vinegar. Tomatoes in pasta, over farro, tossed with feta and cucumber, grated into a sauce, chopped for salsa and canned for later.

Just like we teach in our gardening classes, we need to remember to redefine our seasons in San Francisco. Our beautiful, foggy, coastal city does not follow an east coast schedule of spring, summer, winter, fall. We have a mild rainy season, a foggy season, and the come September and October, two glorious months of warmth and beach days and tomatoes. We need to remember that this summer fruit actually comes to us mid-August, and really gets going right after Labor Day. Our season may feel a little delayed, but we more than make up for it with rich, flavorful tomatoes.

This week, I made tomato cobbler which is basically exactly as delicious and seasonal and smile-inducing as it sounds. I even made it mid-week, after a full day in the garden, and it came together really quickly. I used a combination of early girls and cherry tomatoes, because when baked, they have an incredibly sweet and concentrated flavor. This is NOT the first time I've posted about tomatoes. Read on for more recipes here.

Tomato Cobbler
Based on a recipe by Martha Stewart

You basically bake tomatoes in a casserole dish with simple, buttery drop biscuits on top - so easy! Feel free to use any biscuit recipe here - it's really adaptable.

Tomato Filling
1/4 c. olive oil
1-2 onions, sliced thinly
4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
3 lbs. of early girl and cherry tomatoes (or enough to fill a casserole dish)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2-3 Tbsp. of flour
basil + thyme (or any other herbs you want to use)

2 cups of flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 stick of cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream (I did a mixture of half and half and whole milk yogurt)
1 tsp. salt
1 cup of cheese , shredded(gruyere or sharp, dry cheddar)
thyme (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and pull out a large casserole dish.

Turn a large pan to medium heat, and warm the olive oil. Add onions and sauté until a nice golden color and caramelized, about 25 minutes. While the onions are cooking, wash and de-stem your tomatoes, quartering the larger early girls, and cutting the cherry tomatoes in half.

To make the biscuits, mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add the butter, and with your hands or a pastry cutter, crumble the butter into the flour, until small clumps form. Add the cheese and mix. Stir in the heavy cream, gently combining with a fork, keeping the mixture light and not over mixed. Place bowl in fridge while you finish up the tomato filling.

Once the onions are done, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and pour onion mixture into the casserole dish, along with the tomatoes, salt, flour and any herbs you want to add. Mix well and spread into an even layer.

Plop the biscuit mixture on top of the cobbler in 7 mounds. Feel free to brush with a little cream to create a shiny biscuit. Put the casserole dish on a baking sheet to prevent tomato juices from burning in the oven, and bake the cobbler for about 1 hr and 10 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and the biscuits are golden. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!