When you immerse yourself so far into the blogosphere that you sometimes forget it’s not real life, you will occasionally refer to your fellow bloggers as if they were your best friends. To, ummm, your actual best friends. My boyfriend has learned by now that nine times out of ten, when I bring up a name he’s never heard before, it’s probably another blogger and that, though I (frequently) refer to them on a first name basis (or, even worse – by their blog name)…we’ve probably never met before. So he just nods and smiles. My friends, on the other hand, who are not necessarily subjected to this on a daily basis will mostly offer up blank stares.
That is, of course, unless I mention Deb.
Anyone who has ever googled a recipe knows about Smitten Kitchen, has oohed and aahed over the adorableness that is Deb’s son, and waited with bated breath for the release of her first cookbook this past fall – the eponymous Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. The book is filled with a wide range of recipes, spanning the gamut from chocolate chip brioche pretzels to a potato feta fritatta to a chocolate hazelnut crepe cake, each of which is accompanied by one of Deb’s signature stories.
Since I’ve mainly dabbled in Deb’s baked goods and have always thought that these were really her trademark, I was surprised to see a savory recipe on the cover of her cookbook, but also a bit excited because if these Tomato Scallion Shortcakes with Whipped Goat Cheese had won out over such decadent wonders as the crepe cake for the cover spot, then they had to be good…right? Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.
Tomato Scallion Shortcakes with Whipped Goat Cheese
Yield: 6-8 shortcakes
Prep Time: 40 min
Cook Time: 15 min
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch of sugar
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound cherry or grape tomatoes (mixed colors, if you can find them)
3 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream
4 ounces goat cheese, softened
greens from 2 scallions, thinly sliced
1. To make the biscuits, preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large, wide bowl. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
2. Stir in the scallion. Add the whole milk and stir until evenly moistened. Pat out to 3/4- to 1-inch thickness and cut into six to eight 3-inch rounds, re-forming the scraps as needed until all of the dough is used up. Arrange the biscuits on the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until they are golden brown on top, for about 15 minutes. Rotate the pan to ensure even baking.
3. For the tomato salad, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, sugar, and freshly ground black pepper in the bottom of a bowl. Quarter the tomatoes lengthwise and add them to the bowl with the dressing, tossing them together gently.
4. To make the whipped goat cheese, in a separate bowl use an electric mixer to whip the cream until peaks form. Add the goat cheese and beat until the cheese topping is light and fluffy.
5. To assemble the shortcakes, split each warm biscuit in half. Generously spoon each half with the tomato salad and its dressing. Dollop with whipped goat cheese and sprinkle with scallion-green slivers. Eat at once.
*I doubled the recipe with absolutely no problems, just make sure you have a big enough bowl for cutting the butter into the flour mixture to do so without getting flour all over your floor less than an hour before guests are supposed to be arriving at your apartment.
*Cherry tomatoes tend to be pretty tasty year-round but if yours seem a bit lackluster, try roasting them first!
*I found it a bit difficult to whip the goat cheese because I didn't actually wait for it to soften as the recipe instructed. Don't be like me.
*The biscuits will get a bit soggy if you assemble these and then leave them sitting for a while, so try to only assemble them as you need them.
I made these as an appetizer at my boyfriend’s birthday party and they were a HUGE hit! The scallion shortcakes were simultaneously flaky and fluffy while the tang of the tomatoes and whipped goat cheese were perfect to balance out their richness. I had doubled the recipe so that each person would have the option of having two and there was only one left by the end of the night. I have no shame in telling you that I promptly hid it so that I could have it for lunch the next day…they really were that good.
Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?
Even though I was a bit surprised that Deb chose a savory recipe for her cover, after actually tasting these I think she made a good choice. They are impressive without being overly difficult, and are just the kind of dish you want to bring out to serve to your friends as you break bread and share your lives with each other – which I think was exactly her point.