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Tomato Cobbler with Cornmeal-Cheddar Biscuits

I squirreled this recipe away about a year ago; tomato season had pretty much passed so I had to wait nearly twelve months until the timing was right. Currently there is a glut of tomatoes growing in my backyard, a bumper crop if you will, so the time is now!

To be honest I was a little disappointed with this recipe, I think it could have something to do with the waiting. There is a good chance that after 11 or so months of waiting I had built this recipe up in my mind just a little too much. You know when you make a recipe and you think to yourself it's good, but I don't think I'll make it again anytime soon - that's how I felt while eating it. Don’t get me wrong, it was good and I enjoyed it, indeed I scarfed two whole biscuits and the tomatoes that were underneath, but I didn't love it. Perhaps something was missing? Maybe it was just too hot that day to enjoy tomatoes and biscuits straight from the oven.

Tomato Cobbler with Cornmeal-Cheddar Biscuits

Serves 6 to 8

3 1/2 to 4 pounds cherry tomatoes 1/2 tablespoon olive oil 2 medium red onions, peeled and thinly sliced 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided 4 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 cup red wine (or 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar) 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the biscuits: 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 cup cornmeal 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk, plus extra to brush.

Heat the oven to 375°F with a rack placed in the middle of the oven.

Pick the stems off of the cherry tomatoes and rinse them under running water. Larger tomatoes can be sliced in half, but I generally just leave the tomatoes whole.

Warm the olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron or high-sided stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. When warm, add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Sauté until the onions are very soft and tender, at least 10 minutes.

Stir the garlic into the onions and cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Pour in the wine (or balsamic) and cook until the wine has mostly evaporated. Stir in the flour and cook until the flour is paste-like. Remove the pan from heat. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt, carefully stirring and folding until the onions are evenly mixed with the tomatoes.

To prepare the biscuits, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Cut the cold butter into chunks and scatter it over the flour. Pulse a few times until the butter has been cut into pea-sized pieces.

Transfer the flour-and-butter mixture to a bowl and stir in 1 cup of the cheddar (reserve the other 1/2 cup for sprinkling over the top). Form a well in the middle and pour in 3/4 cup of buttermilk for firmer biscuits, or 1 cup of buttermilk for looser biscuits. Use a spatula to gently stir the buttermilk into the flour; continue stirring until all the buttermilk has been incorporated and no more dry flour remains. (Alternatively, you can make the biscuits entirely in a bowl and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut in the butter.)

Drop the dough over the tomatoes, making 7 to 8 biscuits. Brush the biscuits with a little buttermilk. Place the skillet on a baking sheet to catch drips, and then transfer to the oven.

Cook for 40-55 minutes, until the tomatoes are very bubbly and the tops of the biscuits are nicely browned. About 10 minutes before the end of baking, sprinkle the tops of the biscuits with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar.

Remove from the oven and let the cobbler rest for at least 15 minutes before eating. Leftovers will keep for about a week.

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