With the bonanza of tomatoes our garden is producing, I’ve been searching for recipes beyond sauces, jams, and chutneys, looking for a main dish where the tomatoes could be the star of the show.
101 Cookbooks, one of my go-to sources, had my mouth watering with this Tomato Tart Tatin recipe. I imagined it with the addition of fresh sweet corn and easily topped with packaged puff pastry from my freezer. The harissa and lemon zest options intrigued me, as well, and I went to bed Sunday night excited to make this after work on Monday.
Fast forward to Monday, 5:00 PM, apron on and ready to get cooking, and I pull the box of puff pastry out of the freezer. Damn! It’s not puff pastry! It’s phyllo dough. Shoot—that’s just not going to work. I didn’t feel like driving to the store either. My sails were totally deflated!
I thought about making a homemade pie crust, but that’s more butter than I wanted in my dinner (yes, I know the puff pastry probably had just as much, but I wouldn’t have seen it all by itself sitting in front of me). Then I remembered in the notes of Heidi’s recipe, she mentioned this would be good with a biscuit crust. Bingo! How about a cheddar biscuit crust!?! Yes, please!
I haven’t made enough biscuits to be able to pull a batch together without a recipe, but after a quick Google search, I had a plan to adapt the biscuit crust from this Epicurious recipe. Subbing half the all-purpose with whole wheat pastry flour would make it a little healthier, and I decided to reduce the butter a bit too. Skim milk with a little apple cider vinegar would replace the buttermilk I didn’t have, and all was once again right in my culinary world.
Considering all my starts and stops, this came together quickly and we were eating before evening starvation mode set in. Enjoy!
Tomato Corn Skillet Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kernels cut from one ear fresh sweet corn
1 1/2 pounds (24 oz. small tomatoes)—I used larger cherry tomatoes from our garden)
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 tablespoons harissa (or 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar)
1 tablespoon flour
Zest of ½ a lemon
Cheddar Biscuit Crust (recipe follows)
Garnish with chopped fresh herbs (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (205 C).
Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions and a couple pinches of salt, stirring regularly, until the onions are deeply golden and caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Stir in corn during the last minute or two of cooking. Remove from heat.
While the onions are cooking, cut any larger cherry tomatoes in half. You can leave the extra small cherry tomatoes whole. Add to the caramelized onions and corn, along with the ½ teaspoon sea salt and harissa. Stir in the flour and sprinkle mixture with lemon zest.
Plop spoonsful of biscuit dough over the tomato mixture, until it’s evenly covered and you’ve used all the dough. Bake until the crust is deeply golden and the tomatoes are bubbling a bit at the sides, 25 – 30 minutes. Serves 6-8.
Cheddar Biscuit Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk (I used skim milk mixed with a tablespoon cider vinegar; let stand 5 minutes after mixing)
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add cheeses and toss to coat. Blend in butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir just until a dough forms.