Heirloom tomatoes. Fresh corn on the cob. A nutty whole-grain biscuit with scallions and black pepper. These create for a sensational seasonal summer supper!
We wait all year for our local tomatoes to ripen. The season of too much is happening a little slow for many this year because of our extremely rainy July, but the sun has been shining for the past week, and things are looking up.
Open pollinated, heirloom varieties are what I want. One year, when I was working at a local garden center, our grower asked several of us to plant as many tomato varieties as we had room for in our gardens, just to see how they would do in our cold climate. I grew 40 different varieties, and not a single Big Boy to be found.
We grew intensely flavorful tomatoes of all colors, green, orange, yellow, white, purple, peach, black, and even red! – everything from cherries to dinner plate varieties. Of course we all loved the tasty Brandywine, and the meaty Amish paste, but we all ended up with a few favorites we had never even heard of before –– Old German Pink, Rev. Morrow’s Peach, Purple Russian, Pineapple, Matt’s Wild Cherry. It was fun, and we were able to offer “new” varieties the next year which were best suited for our climate. There were lots of failures too, tomatoes that didn’t have good resistance to diseases, or didn’t produce well in a cold, wet summer.
Grow or buy, they are always a delight
Even if you don’t grow your own, it is so good to see such a wonderful variety of tomatoes available at the farm stands and farmers markets these days. Deeply flavorful, beautiful to look at, they are worth the extra money, but if you grow them yourself, you’ll get a real bargain. These days, I grow two or three tomatoes of my own, but since I’m just a couple of miles away from a beautiful organic farm, I don’t have to plant 40 varieties myself!
Any way you slice it
The first exquisite tomato meal is the simplest. A thick slice of tomato atop some country white bread with a smear of mayonnaise and a little salt. The perfect lunch. When the tomatoes come fast and furious, we use them in any number of dishes and sauces, and can or tuck what we can’t use in the freezer.
A savory cobbler?
I got the idea for the cobbler while picking out some peaches. I had made a peach cobbler the week before, but I realized that I had never thought of a savory cobbler, and why not? Tomatoes were an obvious choice, and since the corn was finally looking plump and delicious, I thought I’d throw those in as well.
I used the herbs from my garden that were sitting in a vase on my counter, but in a pinch, you can use dried. The tomatoes were different colored and sized, as well as. Use what you find that is best, a combination or all one variety, although a mix will give you a more complex flavor as some tomatoes are sweeter or more acidic than others.
This dish is relatively quick to make, and extremely satisfying!
Heirloom Tomato and Corn Cobbler
Serves 6 to 8
- 2 tbsp. fruity olive oil
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter or vegan butter
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 2 cups of fresh corn, uncooked
- 2 Jalapeño peppers, finely minced
- 2 tbsp. fresh basil, minced
- 1 tsp. fresh tarragon, minced
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, or summer savory, minced
- 1 tsp. ground fennel seeds
- 1/3 cup black olives, pitted
- 3 lb. heirloom tomatoes, large chop
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, prep your veggies and herbs, and get your biscuit ingredients assembled.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter and add the onions. Sauté until they are soft. Add the garlic, and cook another minute, then add the raw corn and peppers. Cook for two or three minutes, just until the corn and peppers start to soften.
Add the herbs, olives, and tomatoes, as well as a good sprinkle of salt and grinds of pepper. Cook just until some of the tomatoes start to release their juices, then top with the drop biscuits below, “cobble them” over the top using an ice cream scoop. You should get eight biscuits.
Bake until the biscuits brown, about 30 minutes. The vegetables should be tender and melded together into a thick stew.
Let cool a few minutes, then garnish with a few more fresh herbs.
Note: Fresh is best, but if you do not have fresh herbs, you can substitute dried herbs here, just use considerably less: 1 tsp. dried basil, ½ tsp. dried tarragon, ½ tsp. dried rosemary, but use the full teaspoon of the fennel seeds. The disappointing dried herb will be the basil, so if you can find fresh, that would be best!
Scallion and Black Pepper Drop Biscuits
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. double acting, non-aluminum baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. coarse ground black pepper
- 2 scallions, whites and tops, minced
- 1 stick very cold butter, cubed (or vegan butter)
- 1 cup cold oat milk, or dairy milk
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the scallions and mix well to coat.
Add the butter, and cut it in with a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingers if they are not too hot.
Add the milk, and gently stir just until combined, don’t overwork.
Drop by ice-cream scoop onto the tomatoes, and bake.
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