”A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.” – Laurie Colwin
I have a long-standing adoration of tomatoes, cooking with and eating raw as many as I possibly can during tomato season. Throughout winter and early spring I long for their return to the farmers’ markets. The best tomatoes I have ever tasted come from East Texas and the Mississippi Delta; something about the soil combined with the climate seems to work a particular brand of tomato-magic in these regions. The flavor bursts from a red, ripe tomato the second the first drop of seed-laden juice escapes from within when a fork or knife pierces the paper-thin skin. I’m making myself hungry for one just writing about it!
I was thrilled, absolutely thrilled, to see that the Tyler Farmers’ Market re-opened this week! Yesterday morning after the lemon-raspberry brownie segment was over, I grabbed some coffee and headed straight over there to the parking lot on Old Bullard road where they are set up under a white tent.
I was thrilled to see how much produce was already available; lots of Noonday Onions, which I expected, as they’re ready early. I was surprised how many Jacksonville tomatoes there were; farmers must have really started them early. I asked if they were locally grown, just to be sure, and they all said “yes ma’am.” :) Farmers are polite, you know. Old school manners; they’re lovely.
Well, I ended up bringing home a few wonderful things: a huge potted cherry tomato plant in a hanging basket for my porch, some Noonday Onions, and some small red potatoes. And tomatoes. Believe it or not, I was thrilled to find the green tomatoes you see in that picture. I wanted to explore some other use for them besides the usual “fried green tomatoes” that we love. Here’s what I did with them on In the Kitchen with Mama Steph on KLTV7 this morning. (Click that link if you’d like to see the video of the segment.)
Berry-Green Tomato Cobbler
- 3 cups fresh blackberries, blueberries, or other varieties
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 6 cups chopped green tomato (about 1 3/4 pounds)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- Cooking spray or butter to grease casserole dish
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Combine the berries and 1 tablespoon flour in a medium bowl; toss well.
- Bring tomato, 1 cup granulated sugar, and water to a boil in a medium saucepan; cook 4 minutes. Remove from heat; drain most of the water that has been released from the tomatoes.
- Stir the raspberry mixture into the tomatoes. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray or butter.
- Lightly spoon 1 cup flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk, stirring just until moist. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto fruit mixture. Bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and crust is browned.
Adapted from Cooking Light , JUNE 2001 issue
Of course, I suggest serving this cobbler with a scoop or two of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream, unless you have your own homemade handy! What a great pairing; cobbler and ice cream. This cobbler, though it sounds unusual, is actually quite simple; the tomatoes take on the flavor of the berries, and are a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the expelled juices of the berries and the sugar. I think you should give it a try; it may be your new favorite thing!