Herbed Biscuits and Broiled Cherry Tomatoes

What’s more predictable on a food blog in August than tomato recipes?  I can’t help myself; my little garden is chock-full of beautiful tomatoes, all sizes and shapes.  I’m going to try and make up for last year’s rather vague promise of “all tomatoes all the time” that appeared in one of my first blog posts.  The harvest is certainly looking much more promising than last summer, so, with that said, here is the first tomato offering.

Herbed Biscuits
(makes about 8 large biscuits or 16 small biscuits)
9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 ounces unsalted butter, cold (about 6 tablespoons)
6 ounces cold milk (about 3/4 cup)
1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, thyme, and rosemary
1 egg, beaten with a teaspoon of water.
soft, fresh goat cheese or additional butter, for serving

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or rub it in with your fingertips.  The butter should be in small irregular pieces.  Quickly toss in the herbs and then add almost all the milk, tossing with a fork until the dough comes together.  Add the remaining milk if there is still dry flour mixture at the bottom of the bowl.  Pat the dough into a round disc, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill for one hour.  When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roll out the biscuit dough on a lightly floured surface to an approximately 12×8 inch rectangle.  Fold the dough like a letter, in thirds, lifting with a bench scraper, if necessary.  Roll again to the same size, keeping the shape as rectangular as possible.  Fold in thirds once more.  Now roll the dough to about a 1/2 inch thickness and cut biscuits with a round cutter or simply cut them into squares with a sharp knife.  Place on the prepared baking sheet and brush with a little of the egg wash.  Bake for about 18 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of your biscuits.  They will be well-risen and golden brown and the kitchen will be fragrant with the scent of herbs.  I served these with a dab of soft goat cheese rather than butter, and warm quick-broiled cherry tomatoes.

Broiled Cherry Tomatoes
a quantity of fresh-picked cherry tomatoes, with stems intact (more than you think you might need)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Preheat the broiler.  Wash the tomatoes in a colander or strainer and shake the excess water from them.  Place the tomatoes on the prepared sheet and drizzle with enough olive oil to coat lightly.  Add a few drops of vinegar, then season generously with salt and pepper.  Place the pan under the broiler, and broil for about 5-8 minutes, or until the tomato skins are blistered and the juices are somewhat caramelized.  Cool slightly and serve with your herb biscuits for breakfast or a light lunch.  It wouldn’t hurt to have several pieces of good smokey bacon along with the biscuits if you’re so inclined.

( Recipe for biscuits based on the concept of “ratios”, as outlined in the book of the same name by Michael Ruhlman)

One year ago:  Santa Rosa Plum and Strawberry Jam with Rosemary

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