My parents definitely failed me on the vegetable front. Sure, they tried to make me eat well. But we didn’t have much money, so their version of having me eat well was having me eat well out of a can. Asparagus from a can. Green beans from a can. Creamed corn and even fruit from a can. You almost couldn’t blame me for thinking vegetables were disgusting — these weren’t actually vegetables. These were sodium drenched skeletons of what once was vegetable. When I realized how delicious fresh asparagus could be, I never turned back. I made a pact with myself never to ever eat fresh vegetables out of cans again — unless of course they were going in a chili or stew, and even then I always opt for the no salt added variety.
My final transition into becoming a vegetable elitist was tomatoes. Tomatoes always seemed so bland, and I couldnt imagine them being much else. But that all changed this summer, when I decided to take the extra mile (and extra few dollars) to get a tomato that was not a roma. This excursion into tomato blissed was a direct result of some organic heirloom tomatoes Jack brought with him to the beach house this summer. I couldn’t believe these were tomatoes. They were too delicious, too orgasmic, too… Let’s just say I would swear off men entirely if I could have a few bites of these tomatoes daily. Moral of the story: Good tomatoes (and good, fresh vegetables in general) worth the extra buck or two.
So the other night when I saw the seasons last heirloom tomatoes on sale at Whole Foods, I knew I couldn’t resist picking up a few to make a cobbler with them. I saw a recipe for a tomato cobbler on Mark Bittman’s website. Cobblers have always been my specialty, as I know some of you can attest, but I had never imagined making a savory version. Finding this recipe changed that, but I didn’t think Bittman really took the idea far enough. So I did. Here are the results.
For those of you who aren’t vegetarian, this would pair really well with a strong meat centerpiece – think fish or even a steak. For those of you who are vegetarian like myself, just do like I did and eat a very large piece!
Savory Tomato Cobbler
- 2-3 large heirloom tomatoes or an equivalent number of smaller delicious tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 6ish baby portobello or crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 6 oz sundried tomatoes, slivered
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 c whole wheat flour
- 1/2 c cornmeal
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp butter or margarine, cut into small pieces, cold
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/3 c buttermilk
- 4-5 oz creamy goat cheese (or feta?)
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a square 8×8 baking dish.
In a medium bowl, mix tomatoes, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, balsamic, basil, oregano, garlic. Flavor with enough salt and pepper to make yourself happy,toss to combine, and set aside.
Sift the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and baking soda together. Add the butter and cut it in with a fork until it looks crumbly. Alternately, you could pulse the mixture a few times in a food processor. Add the egg and buttermilk and mix until it comes together into a ball. Add more flour or buttermilk if it looks to wet or dry respectively.
Take the tomatoes mixture and drain out any liquid which accumulated. Mix in the cornstarch and toss a few times. Then add the mixture into the baking dish. On top of the tomato mixture, drop pieces of the cheese on top in small portions. On top of that, drop bits of the dough mixture. Make sure to leave gaps so steam can escape, and for aesthetic purposes.
Bake for 30-40 minutes at 375. Things will get bubbly and delicious smelling. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Scoop it out to serve. If it turns out too liquidy like mine did, do not fear. It will still be deilicious.