Tomato Cobbler is a very southern dish! Or so I am told.
My very first taste of Tomato Cobbler was during my first visit to Atlanta over a decade ago. Back then, Atlanta was still Zombie-free!!
My then-boyfriend’s parents lived in the suburbs outside of Atlanta. They were completely dyed-in-wool type of Southern people with a terrific love of all things fried!
If you have ever seen the movie, “Midnight in the garden of Good and Evil”, you will have a pretty good idea of what kind of people his parents were. The town had a very eclectic feel. There was also a throwback-to-a-completely-bygone-era feel to this town. Doctors still made house calls and gentlemen took off their hats in the presence of women!
When they spoke, their southern drawl was longer than a summer’s day! It was the most captivating sound I had ever heard. On several occasions, I found myself asking them politely to repeat their question. I was so mesmerized by their speech that I had missed everything they were saying.
On the flip side, they found me equally fascinating. His mother would just sit there and stare at me with a look of pure curiosity in her eyes. To her, I was like a creature from Mars! She had never experienced anyone from another culture and had NEVER met an Indian person in her lifetime.
Then she met me….
It didn’t take long for the both of us to get close and share our love for cooking. Being Southern born and bred, cooking was ingrained into every core of her being. That woman could cook a meal for 20 hungry football players without breaking a sweat. To top it all, she LOVED cooking those huge meals.
On the other hand, I presented quite a challenge for her because I don’t eat eggs, meat or fish! She couldn’t fathom the concept of not having a meal without chicken or beef! To her credit, however, she quickly came up with a whole bunch of recipes just for me.
Her ability to make dishes that was completely outside of her comfort zone was what made her the greatest chef I have ever known!
It didn’t take long for us to get close and we kept in touch as much as we could over the next few years. She even told me that I can call her “Mamma”. I felt honored to be welcomed into her life.
Sadly, I found out that she passed away last week and it has broken my heart!!
So, in honor of “Mamma”, I present to you the very first meal that she made for me.
Tomato Cobbler or “Biscuits with tomatoes” as she called it.
In my recipe, I added coconut and cardamom to the biscuit.
Tomato Cobbler is not hard to make, but, it is easy to mess the recipe up. If you don’t get the biscuits just right, you can end up with a soggy mess!
In her recipe, she had used buttermilk to make the biscuits. They turned out so fluffy and delicious that I asked her to make some biscuits just for me to take home. In my recipe, I ended up using heavy cream in place of the buttermilk.
I think this recipe turned out great, but, I can still taste Mamma’s biscuits. Maybe someday I will get her recipe just right!
If you ask me, I think Mamma is probably cooking a huge meal in heaven right now and calling all the heavenly residents to come enjoy the feast!
So, what are some of your favorite southern dishes?
Recipe Details (Makes 2 servings of Tomato Cobbler)
Total Time to Prepare: 45 Minutes
For the Biscuits
– 2 cups of all-purpose flour
– 1 cup of heavy cream for the dough
– 1/4 cup of heavy cream for brushing the biscuits
– 1 tsp of kosher salt
– 1/2 cup of sweetened shredded coconut
– 2 tsp of freshly ground cardamom seeds
– 2 tsp of baking powder
– 1 stick of cold unsalted butter
For the tomato filling
– 2 cups of cherry tomatoes
– 1/2 of a red onion
– 1 clove of garlic
– 1 tsp of freshly grated ginger
– 1 tsp of salt
– 1 tsp of cumin seeds
– 1 tsp of olive oil
– Wash the tomatoes thoroughly
– Cut the onions into long strips
– Crush the garlic finely
– Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
For the Tomato filling
– Heat a medium pan on medium heat and add cumin seeds
– Wait for about 2 minutes or until the cumin seeds are a darker shade of brown
– Add the onions, salt, ginger and garlic to the pan.
– Allow the onions to caramelize. Should take about 5 minutes
– Remove from heat
For the Biscuits
– Mix the salt, flour, half of sweet coconut, cardamom and baking powder by hand
– Cut the butter into small pieces and work it into the dough gently
– Introduce the heavy cream slowly into the flour mixture until you have a rough dough
– Knead roughly
– In a baking pan or pie pan, use a spoon to scoop small balls from the dough.
– Keep the balls on the edge of the pan and leave some space between each of the balls
– In the middle of the pan, add the onions mixture and the cherry tomatoes on top of it.
– Also add the tomato and onions between the biscuits
– Place the pan in the oven and allow the tomato cobbler to cook for about 20 minutes.
– Pull out the tomato cobbler after about 15-20 minutes and brush the top of the biscuits with the heavy cream
– When the biscuits are almost brown (about 25 minutes), remove and brush with the heavy cream one more time
– Sprinkle the remaining sweet coconut on the biscuits and place in the oven
– Bake for 5 more minutes and then remove from the oven.
Allow the tomato cobbler to cool slightly and then serve with your favorite meal. I ate mine with a side of Campanelle With Mixed Greens and Goat Cheese by TheVegLife.com