Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Tomato Tradition

There is something to be said about personal traditions. I am not speaking of the mandatory traditions, associates of the big calendar holidays, Christmas, Hanukkah, Halloween, Easter and so forth. Although I do believe it is ok to endorse any tradition if it brings you happiness. A tradition that develops in you own home or community for what ever reason enriches the day. I pose this question by way of example to explain my thoughts. “What becomes more memorable, the yearly Thanksgiving dinner or your uncles one speciality; the "Pepto- Bismol” coloured cranberry condiment?” Hence you have a tradition to look forward to and speak of later.

Food perhaps has the richest traditions of all traditions, in part it defines a culture. The seasons preside over food traditions; the planting and harvest are the king and queen of festivities. March in Florida means my tomato vines are yielding in abundance. Having a small yard, my garden is limited to containers, I usually grow three to four pots with different varieties and one pot is always a cherry tomato (sweet 100’s my preference). If you are an experienced tomato grower you understand the dilemma of having a kitchen full of ripe tomatoes. Hence our spring tradition of tomato cobbler, our favourite cherry tomato recipe.

Mixed Tomato Cobbler With Gruyere Crust
Serves 8
Adapted From Martha Stewart Living March 2000
Resist temptation and allow the cobbler to cool to room temperature before serving so tomato juices have time to collect.

  • 2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups grated gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup ( 2 sticks ) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold, cut
    Into pieces
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds assorted cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • Pinch of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg
    1) In the bowl of a food processor, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, and 1 cup cheese. Add 1 cup butter; process until mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
    2) With machine running, pour ice water ( about 1/4 cup ) little by little through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without becoming wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test squeeze a small amount together; if it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
    3) Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each into a disk; wrap in plastic. Transfer to refrigerator; chill 1 hour or overnight.
    4) Melt remaining tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook stirring occasionally, until translucent and softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.
    5) Place tomatoes in a large bowl toss with the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar, and the basil and pepper . When the onion mixture is cooled, add to the tomato mixture and toss to combine. Transfer mixture to a deep 9 1/2- or 10-inch pie dish. Set aside.
    6) Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out half the dough into a circle 1 inch larger than the pie dish. Remaining dough may be frozen up to 1 month. Transfer rolled dough to top of dish; tuck in edges to seal make 3 to 4 small slits in crust; form a decorative edge if desired. In a small bowl, mix egg with 1 teaspoon water brush egg glaze over crust; sprinkle crust with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Place pie dish on baking sheet to catch drips; bake until crust is golden and insides are bubbling, about 50 minutes. Let cobbler cool before serving. Note I like this pie best when it is still warm, makes a great side dish.

    Additional notes for recipe:
    If tomatoes are extremely juicy add more flour.
    If the tomatoes don’t seem sweet add a bit more sugar.
    Short on basil, us a combination of parsley, thyme and oregano.
    A low casserole dish works better than a pie pan to contain the bubbling juices.

    As a reminder; If you live in the northern climes now is the time to buy your tomato seeds, I like the vast offerings of “Totally Tomatoes”.
    Related Tags: , , , , , , , ,
  • No comments: