What's For Dinner: Tomato and Caramelized Onion Cobbler

All sorts of beautifully-hued cherry tomatoes have popped up on the shelves of our local natural foods store, and I couldn't help myself, as three types found their way into my shopping basket -- standard red cherry tomatoes, small orange tomatoes, and little red-green tomatoes. These little multi-colored morsels are sweet and full of delicious tomato-y flavor; something I must savor before we enter the winter doldrums once more and yummy-tasting fresh tomatoes are nowhere to be found.

I was paging through (well, literally swiping through, given I read many of my magazine subscriptions on my Kindle Fire) a recent issue of Midwest Living when I came across a recipe for a cheddar tomato cobbler. I instantly bookmarked the recipe to give it a try later. Given the large amount of cherry tomatoes on my kitchen countertop, and the imminent threat of a fruit fly coup, I figured now was as good a time as any to give the tomato cobbler recipe a whirl. The caramelized onions and fresh herbs give this dish a savory flavor, and the just-roasted-enough tomatoes provide plenty of sweetness. Top it all with cheddar biscuits, and boom!, you've got quite the spectacular dish on hand. 

Tomato and Caramelized Onion Cobbler (printer-friendly version)
makes 6-8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium white onions, cut into 1/8"-thick slices 
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt 
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh chopped herbs (I used a mix of rosemary, sage, and thyme)
6 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut up
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
1/2 cup organic skim milk

1. Add the olive oil and butter to a 10" oven-safe skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted, add in the onions, brown sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cover the skillet and saute the onions for 10-15 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and softened. Remove the cover, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the onions are golden brown. Remove the skillet from the heat and spoon the onions into a bowl. Stir the balsamic vinegar and chopped herbs into the onions.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the tomatoes in the oven-safe skillet and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the tomatoes have popped and released their juices. Remove the skillet from the oven and stir in the onion mixture.
3. While the tomatoes are cooking, make the dough mixture. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles shaggy peas. Stir in the shredded cheddar and milk. 
4. Drop the dough onto the tomato mixture in six mounds, spacing them evenly around the skillet. Bake the cobbler for 20 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden and a toothpick or skewer inserted into a biscuit comes out clean. Remove the skillet from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.

(lightly adapted from this Midwest Living recipe)