Tomato cobbler


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For many consecutive summers I tended to Mr Pask’s tomatoes in return for pocket money; the beginning of my little tomato love affair. He had a tiny greenhouse, two doors down, that became stiflingly sweaty in the Summer sun and was packed with tomato plants dripping with fruit. Years later I only think a tomato is really good if its smells like that greenhouse; dusty with scent and deep red in colour.

Tomatoes have a lengthy, full season that runs right from June to October so some might say that right now they are at their peak. The temptation is often to add them to a salad, chop them up for a bolognese or pair with cheese for the classic sandwich but I wanted to make the tomato a star of this recipe.

Think Parmesan dumplings and you’ve just about got what this cobbler will be like. For this recipe I gently fried the onions until they buckled from the heat and turned soft and caramel in colour. I then mixed them with plenty of fresh tomatoes, thyme, garlic and brown sugar. The tomatoes do the talking. The cobbler is baked until sweet tomato juices break free and the cobbled crust is golden. Ideal for an August evening when the sun hasn’t shone quite as much as the weather forecast promised.




  • 1kg tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 white onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp of fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 200g of self-raising flour
  • 100g of salted butter, softened
  • 40g of Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 dash of milk, if needed
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
Begin by caramelizing your onions. Heat the oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat and add the onions. Reduce the heat to low and gently fry the onions for at least 30 minutes (if you have the time, cook for another 10 minutes, they will keep on improving), stirring every so often to make sure they don’t catch. They will become soft, golden and almost sticky
Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5
While the onions are cooking, make your cobbler dough. Empty the flour into a large bowl and add the butter. Using your fingertips, rub the two together until the butter has all but disappeared. Add the Parmesan and a good grating of black pepper and combine
Pour in the beaten egg and bring everything together to form a soft dough, adding a drop or two of milk if needed. Leave your cobbler for a few moments while you finish off the filling
In a large bowl, toss the sticky onions with the tomatoes, fresh herbs, brown sugar and roughly chopped garlic. Season with a little salt and pepper and pour into a 2l ovenproof dish
Crumble over the cobbler topping and bake for 40 minutes. Once golden brown and cook through, remove from the oven and serve
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