Recipe provided by Hetty McKinnon
America has introduced many new culinary joys to me, and one of my favourites is the humble ‘cobbler’. In the warmer months, there is nothing that signals summer more than peach, plum or berry cobbler – an oozy fruit concoction, topped with a buttery, flaky ‘biscuit’ dough (American ‘biscuits’ are essentially the equivalent of an Australian/English scone). I’ve learnt to make a few different variations of cobblers over these past few years, but this one, a savoury deep-dish creation of ripe summer tomatoes topped with a stunning parmesan drop-biscuit dough, has become my go-to main-meal cobble
2 kg tomatoes (any variety)
extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons plain flour
sea salt and black pepper
Buttermilk Parmesan Biscuits
150 g (1 cup) plain flour
110 g (3⁄4 cup) cornmeal
3 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of paprika
100 g chilled butter, roughly chopped
into large chunks
100 g (1 cup) grated parmesan, plus 50 g
(1⁄2 cup) extra for topping
3 tablespoons chopped chives
250 ml (1 cup) buttermilk, plus extra
parmesan: gruyere, pecorino or other sharp, hard cheese
Use gluten-free flour for gluten free
Preheat the oven to 220 ̊C. Depending on the variety and size of the
tomatoes, cut larger ones in half and leave cherry tomatoes whole.
Heat some oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, then add the
onion along with a pinch of sea salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook for
15–20 minutes, until the onion is well caramelised. Add the garlic, thyme,
balsamic and flour and cook for 60–90 seconds, until the flour is paste-
like. Add the tomatoes, season with a good pinch of sea salt and black
pepper and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To make the biscuits, place the flour, cornmeal, baking powder,
bicarbonate of soda, salt and paprika in a bowl and whisk together.
Add the cold butter and, using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, rub the
butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse sand. Stir in the
parmesan and chives. Slowly pour the buttermilk into the flour mixture,
mixing with a fork or spatula until no more dry flour remains. Set aside.
Generously grease a large ovenproof dish with olive oil and add the tomato
mixture. Drop large spoonfuls of the dough over the tomatoes, making six
to eight biscuits. Brush the biscuits with a little buttermilk. Place the dish
on a baking tray to catch drips and bake for 40–45 minutes, sprinkling the
top with extra parmesan 5 minutes before the end of cooking, until the
tomatoes are bubbling and the biscuits are golden. Remove from the oven
and allow to rest for 15–20 minutes. Serve while still warm.
This cobbler is delicious eaten the next day, so it’s the perfect dish to make in advance.
Once cool, store in the fridge for up to 2 days. To serve, reheat in the oven until hot.
Add some porcini mushrooms to the tomatoes for extra ‘meatiness’.