Everyone is intrigued by the idea of a savory version of one of their favorite desserts, and this one is a beauty. In fact, there’s nothing quite like a summertime tomato cobbler, though you can make one with canned tomatoes all year long. (It’s just different; see the variation.) The biscuit topping is quickly assembled in a food processor, making this an ideal potluck dish: Not only is the preparation easy, but you serve it at room temperature. This dish is also really good with tomatillos.
Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Time: About 1 hour
Oil or butter for the baking dish
3 pounds ripe tomatoes (8 to 10 medium), cored and cut into wedges
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into large pieces and refrigerated until very cold
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup buttermilk, plus more if needed
Tomato Cobbler with Herb Topping. The way to go if you have fresh herbs: In Step 3, when you add the egg and buttermilk, add 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, like mint, parsley, basil, or cilantro. Or add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, oregano, or rosemary.
Tomato Cobbler with Extra Corny Topping. The flavor of summer: In Step 4, before topping the tomatoes, fold 1 cup of fresh corn kernels into the biscuit batter.
Two-Tomato Cobbler. Made hearty with the addition of sun- dried tomatoes and good with the main recipe or any of the preceding topping variations: Omit the cornstarch. (The dried tomatoes will soak up the extra juices during baking.) In Step 2, add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried tomatoes to the fresh tomato mixture.
Leek Cobbler. This will work for the main recipe or any of the variations: Omit the cornstarch. Instead of the tomatoes, use 3 pounds leeks. Trim them down to mostly the white part with just a little green, wash them carefully, and cut into 1-inch slices. Proceed with the recipe.
Canned Tomato Cobbler. With a flavor more like tomato sauce than fruit, but still delicious: Instead of fresh tomatoes, use two 28-ounce cans of whole tomatoes and drain them for a bit. (Save the liquid for another use.) If you like, in Step 2, when you add the cornstarch, salt, and pepper, season the tomatoes with a tablespoon of chopped oregano and a pinch of cayenne or hot red pepper flakes.