3 pounds ripe tomatoes (8 to 10 medium), cored and cut into wedges
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into large pieces and refrigerated until very cold
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup buttermilk, plus more if needed
- Grease a square baking dish or a deep pie plate with the butter or oil. Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
- Put the tomato wedges in a large bowl and sprinkle with the cornstarch and some salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.
- Put the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and baking soda in a food processor along with a teaspoon of salt. Add the butter and pulse a few times until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs. Add the egg and buttermilk and pulse a few times more, until the mixture comes together in a ball. If the mixture doesn’t come together, add a spoonful or two of flour. If the mixture is too dry, add a few drops of buttermilk.
- Gently toss the tomato mixture again and spread it in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Drop spoonfuls of the batter on top and smooth a bit with a knife. (Try to leave some gaps so that the steam from the tomato mixture will have a place to escape as the cobbler bakes.) Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden on top and bubbly underneath. Cool to just barely warm or room temperature. To serve, scoop servings out with a large spoon.
Tomato Cobbler with Herb Topping. The way to go if you have fresh herbs: In Step 3, when you add the egg and buttermilk, add 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, like mint, parsley, basil, or cilantro. Or add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, oregano, or rosemary.
Tomato Cobbler with Extra Corny Topping. The flavor of summer: In Step 4, before topping the tomatoes, fold 1 cup of fresh corn kernels into the biscuit batter.
Two-Tomato Cobbler. Made hearty with the addition of sun- dried tomatoes and good with the main recipe or any of the preceding topping variations: Omit the cornstarch. (The dried tomatoes will soak up the extra juices during baking.) In Step 2, add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried tomatoes to the fresh tomato mixture.
Leek Cobbler. This will work for the main recipe or any of the variations: Omit the cornstarch. Instead of the tomatoes, use 3 pounds leeks. Trim them down to mostly the white part with just a little green, wash them carefully, and cut into 1-inch slices. Proceed with the recipe.
Canned Tomato Cobbler. With a flavor more like tomato sauce than fruit, but still delicious: Instead of fresh tomatoes, use two 28-ounce cans of whole tomatoes and drain them for a bit. (Save the liquid for another use.) If you like, in Step 2, when you add the cornstarch, salt, and pepper, season the tomatoes with a tablespoon of chopped oregano and a pinch of cayenne or hot red pepper flakes.