I spend all my time thinking about food. When I am not in the kitchen cooking, I am on the computer writing. When I am driving in the car, I think about how to make them most of fresh seasonal ingredients. When I lie in bed, before I fall asleep at night and when I wake up in the morning, I plan what I will experiment with next. Ideas come to me at all times and from all sides. But I know that once you work out a really good recipe, you start to riff on it endlessly. Last year, my favorite summer kitchen creation was Fresh Corn Buttermilk Biscuits. And then one day I was eating a biscuit while slicing tomatoes. And I wondered if I couldn’t combine the two, along the same line as the corn biscuit creation. I set to work immediately, while eating one biscuit from fresh batch mind you, and discovered that yes, you can.
I love these warm, slathered with butter, but that is not the limits to the possibilities. A slick of mayonnaise and some slices of bacon are a special sandwich – add a bit of lettuce and you’ve got a unique BLT. Try these as the base for eggs benedict, or smothered in sausage gravy. Cheddar cheese and chutney are an interesting combination as well. Cut these into little bite sized morsels and use them as a cocktail appetizer, with mozzarella and a basil leaf or a dab of pesto.
When left simple, these biscuits are a great vehicle for all sorts of additions. But you can absolutely stir a little chopped basil to the wet ingredients, or a generous helping of ground pepper in with the dry. A handful of finely grated parmesan would add an interesting touch.
Fresh Tomato Buttermilk Biscuits
These biscuits are best served warm. If you don’t eat them right out of the oven, wrap lightly in foil and heat for a few minutes in a low oven.
½ cup (1 stick) butter, divided
1 – 2 tomatoes
1 cup buttermilk (preferably whole)
4 cups all-purpose flour (preferably White Lily), plus more for dusting
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 400°. Line an 8 by 11 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
Melt 1/3 cup of the butter and set aside to cool. Cut the core out of a tomato, cut into chunks and place in a blender. Puree until very smooth (you can add a drop of buttermilk to get things going if needed). Pour the puree into a 2-cup measuring jug. You should have about 1 cup puree. Puree some more tomato chunks if needed. Add buttermilk to measure 2 cups of liquid. Return the liquid to the blender, add the melted butter and blend until smooth. The puree may be alarmingly pink, but will mellow when mixed with the dry ingredients.
In a large, wide bowl, mix 3 ½ cups flour, the baking powder and salt with a fork until blended. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the wet ingredients. Using the fork, blend everything together, pulling the flour into the wet ingredients until everything is incorporated. Lightly flour your hands and work in up to another ½ cup of flour until you have a soft, cohesive dough. Don’t treat the dough too rough – you want a tender biscuit.
Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Lightly knead the dough a few times, then pat it out into a circle 1-inch thick. Using a floured 2- inch biscuit cutter, cut the biscuits by just pressing down and lifting out – don’t twist the cutter. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, almost touching. You can pat out the dough scraps to cut more biscuits, but they are never quite as pretty. Bake the biscuits for 8 minutes.
While the biscuits are baking, melt the remaining butter. After 8 minutes in the oven, remove the biscuits and brush the tops with the melted butter. Return to the oven for another two or three minutes until the biscuits are done. They won’t brown on top, but when they are firm to the touch they are ready.
Makes 24 biscuits