Tomato Cobbler with Blue Cheese Biscuits

Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes
This is my favorite part of the summer growing season. I am experiencing a tomato explosion in my garden. It’s awesome. But I do tend to get tired of just popping the cherry tomatoes into my mouth, or eating the slicer tomatoes like apples. So when I saw this recipe for a tomato cobbler on one of my favorite blogs, I was intrigued and excited about making it. All my favorite flavors are there: tomatoes, basil, balsamic, and caramelized onions….and don’t forget the blue cheese!

I am fairly certain that the kids will go nowhere near it, but I also have a strong feeling that this will be served for dinner up at Tahoe next week to those of us who are over 5 feet tall, and have a more sophisticated palate than the chicken nugget crowd.

I encourage those of you who have the same backyard tomato largess to give it a try…

Tomato Cobbler with Blue Cheese Biscuits
Yields 6 servings
Inspired by Joy the Baker, Martha Stewart, and the Clinton St Bakery Cookbook

For the Biscuits
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cold and cut into cubes
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
3/4 cup cold buttermilk

For the Filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 pounds cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Make the Biscuits
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter and shortening. Using your fingers, quickly break up the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients. (You don’t want to warm up the dough.) And, rub the fats into the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Some pieces will be the size of small peas, other will be the size of oat flakes. Toss in blue cheese crumbles, and stir to incorporate the cheese into the dough.

Create a small well in the center of the flour mixture to add buttermilk—all at once. Using a fork, quickly bring together the wet and dry ingredients. The dough will be shaggy.

Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough about 10 times, bringing it together into a disk. Wrap it up in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the filling is assembled.

Make the Tomato Filling
Add the olive oil and butter to a medium sautè pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook and brown onions, stirring occasionally, until caramelized (about 18 to 20 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.   Remove pan from heat, add balsamic vinegar and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together whole, washed cherry tomatoes, chopped basil, flour, and red pepper flakes. Add the caramelized onions and toss everything together until evenly coated in flour. Season with salt and pepper.

Place rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375º F.

Pour the tomato and onion filling into a square 8×8-inch baking dish. Place in the oven and bake tomatoes filling for 25 minutes.

Remove the biscuit dough from the fridge.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll out biscuit dough into a 3/4 or 1-inch thickness.  Use a 1 1/2 to 2-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits.  Dip the cutter in flour should it get sticky.  Remove the partially cooked filling from the oven and carefully place 6 biscuits atop the tomato filling in the pan.  Brush biscuit tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Reshape and reroll excess biscuit dough to make extra biscuits at another time.  (The shaped biscuit dough freezes very well.)

Return warm filling and biscuit dough to oven and bake for 17-20 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and cooked through, and the tomato mixture is bubbling.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.  Tomato Cobbler is best served warm.

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