As if the very name of this dish wasn’t already completely unromantic and slightly clunky, let’s just go ahead and examine its most glaringly obvious head-scratching component: it’s a cobbler made of tomatoes.
I know it seems unlikely, but let me assure you, it works. Juicy heirloom tomatoes made even more flavorful with a handful of basil and some quality time spent in a hot oven. Soft and comforting biscuits with pleasantly crunchy tops and bursts of savory sharp cheddar enveloped within. Put these two elements together and you’ve got nothing less than magic, I tell you.
And before you say it, allow me to tackle the next seemingly problematic tidbit about this dish: heirloom tomatoes in October? Yes. You can get heirloom tomatoes in October, and, thankfully, they are just the type of heirloom tomatoes you will want. This dish does not require pretty, unblemished tomatoes, but rather calls out for those tomatoes you would like to chop up and maybe even hide a little before you eat them.
You don’t need beauty pageant tomatoes for this dish, you just need ripe, fleshy tomatoes that are bursting with flavor and willing to be cooked. That, to me, is the very essence of the October heirloom tomato. Summer heirloom tomatoes are for slicing and displaying atop a wonderful savory biscuit. October heirloom tomatoes are for chopping and nestling beneath some biscuits. It’s all so very convenient, I think.
Heirloom Tomato Cobbler with Cheddar and Scallion Biscuit Topping
2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-inch to 1/2-inch chunks
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
¾ cup cold buttermilk or soured milk
¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 large or 2 small scallions, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons total)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place chopped tomatoes and basil in an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Add salt and pepper to taste, then toss gently to combine.
In a large bowl or in the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk or pulse to combine. Scatter butter over the top of the flour, then cut into the mixture using a pastry cutter, or by pulsing 6 or 7 times in the food processor. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs with a few pea-sized chunks of butter remaining. Gently stir in the buttermilk, or add through the feeding tube of the food processor while intermittently pulsing to combine. Add the cheese and scallions and gently stir to combine, or sprinkle the cheese and scallions over the top of the mixture in the food processor and then briefly pulse just 2 or 3 times to combine.
Drop the biscuit mixture over the tomatoes, about ¼ cup per scoop. You will end up with 9 biscuits total, 3 across and 3 down.
Bake the cobbler in the center of the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the tops of the biscuits are deeply golden and the tomatoes are rapidly bubbling. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.