Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tomato Cobbler-- More fun with Guest Posts!

Yay!  I have another guest post to share on the blog!  This time, my "niece" (I've known her since before she and her twin sister were born!), Olivia, is sharing her latest cooking adventure from Delaware, where she's completing an interesting marine biology internship.  Between her field work, data crunching and compiling, Olivia has discovered the wonderful New England Farmer's Markets available to her now.  You'll see from her post that they've inspired some tasty kitchen creativity!

Firstly, I’d like to thank my auntie for inviting me to write a guest post. She’s one of the best chefs I know, and I hope that my recipe can live up to the high standards I’m sure you’re accustomed to!

Secondly, I’d like to confess that I am in love. I know I don’t really even know you, but I feel it’s necessary to share that I am smitten…by summer tomatoes. They’re just so sweet and tasty, and what’s more, they come in a multitude of shapes, sizes, and colors. What’s not to adore? If you’re just as crazy about summertime tomatoes as I am, then you will find this recipe truly does them justice.  

And so, I present to you…(drumroll, please)…the tasty Tomato Cobbler! “What’s that?” you might ask, aghast at the prospects of your precious cherries and green zebras being turned into a dreadful dessert. Let me assure you, though, that this is not something out of your mushy casserole nightmares. The fluffy, crumbly biscuits are a perfect accompaniment to the sweetly roasted tomatoes and caramelized onions. If you’re still wavering, I’m sure you’ll be convinced when you see the cute little tomatoes happily bubbling away beneath the savory, biscuity topping. D’lish!

Tomato Cobbler
(adapted from the ingenious Lottie and Doof)            
Note:  The original recipe suggests using 2.5-3 lbs of cherry tomatoes and baking it in a 2-quart baking dish that’s 2 inches deep. Of course, as the tomato lover that I am, I ended up using something closer to 3.5 lbs of tomatoes, and I had to use a 3 Qt. baking dish (9” x 13”). I’ll let you decide how much to make, but either way, I don’t think you be disappointed. Serves 6 hungry colleges students when served with a big side salad.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3.5 lbs tomatoes (I liked mixing and matching different types for a bit of variety and color. If you use bigger ones, slice them thinly. Little ones can just go in whole.)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Biscuit topping:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (2 1/4 ounces), plus 1 Tbsp, for sprinkling
1.5 cups heavy cream, plus 1 Tbsp more for brushing

For the tomato filling: In a large pot or high-sided skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and rosemary, and cook until caramelized (around 25 min), stirring occasionally. While the onions are cooking away, you can start the dough, just see below! Then add the garlic to the pot o’ onions, and cook for around 3 minutes. Don’t let it burn! Let the mixture cool for a bit until you finish getting the biscuit topping ready. Gently toss the onion mixture, tomatoes, flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and some pepper. Preheat oven to 375°F. 

For the biscuit topping: Mix together flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Using your fingers, add the butter until small clumps form. (Alternatively, you can use a pastry cutter, but where’s the fun in that?) Stir in the cheese, then add the cream, mixing well until the dough forms. It’ll be sticky, so I suggest mixing with one hand and holding the bowl with the other. 

Transfer the tomato mixture to a 3-quart baking dish. Spoon 6 clumps of biscuit dough (about 1/2 cup each) on top, and brush the dough with the cream. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of cheese. Bake until tomatoes are bubbling and the biscuits are golden brown, about 50-60 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before devouring.


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