August, the glorious month when tomatoes are abundant and their most flavorful. There really is nothing better than a ripe tomato, heirloom if you can find it, and leave it to the editors at Martha Stewart to print a recipe that epitomises savory summer cooking.
When I peruse the food magazines I subscribe to, many of the pages are turned without a lot of fanfare. I might make a mental note that a recipe looks good, or consider adding it to the menu for an upcoming week, but every so often a recipe stops me right there and I just need to make it. This was one of those recipes.
I was out of gruyere and decided to use parmesan and thyme for the biscuits instead. The thyme, just a hint, was a wonderful compliment to the juicy cherry tomatoes. The only change I would consider for next time is making the biscuits smaller. I felt that the biscuit/tomato ratio wasn't in entirely perfect proportion, and the dish might benefit from a dozen or so smaller biscuits dotted around the perimeter instead of six or seven large ones. But other than that, this was an ideal summer dinner. If you can brave the heat and manage to turn on your stove this month, I hope you try this recipe.
CHERRY TOMATO COBBLER WITH PARMESAN THYME DROP BISCUITS
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living, July 2011
For the filling
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 pints cherry tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, plus more for brushing
Heat two turns of oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add onions, salt, pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Pour into a 3-quart oval baking dish and add the tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with red-pepper flakes.
Preheat the oven to 375 before making the biscuits. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter. Stir in cheese and thyme, then cream, stirring with a fork until the dough combines. (It will be slightly sticky.)
Spoon 7 clumps of biscuit dough (about 1/2 cup each) over the top of tomatoes in a circle, leaving the center open. Bake until tomatoes are bubbling and biscuits golden brown, about 1 hour. Cool for 20 minutes before serving.