Ratatouille, the humble French vegetable stew, just begs for some crusty bread to sop up all its tasty juices. But let's take it one step further and make it even easier. Throw that perfect trifecta of summer vegetables — tomatoes, eggplant, and summer squash — into a hot skillet without cooking them, then add a scoop of thyme-scented biscuit dough right on top. After an hour in the oven, you're digging into a savory vegetarian cobbler. It's the perfect summer dish next to grilled meats or a crisp green salad.
There's a little bit of up-front work here, but it doesn't take very long. After softening up some onions and garlic in a skillet, add some red wine or balsamic vinegar with some flour right into the pan. As the chopped zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplant bake, they release juices that mingle with the flour mixture and turn into a savory sauce that both ties everything together and soaks into the biscuits so they're tender underneath.
The simple buttermilk drop biscuits are flavored with thyme and don't require any rolling out — just scoop and drop right into the pan. They bake up golden-brown as the ratatouille gently simmers into a light yet flavorful stew around them.
Skillet Ratatouille Cobbler
For the filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine, or 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water, low-sodium vegetable broth, or low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound eggplant (about 1 small globe eggplant), large dice
1 pound zucchini or summer squash (about 2 medium), large dice
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes (about 10 ounces), halved
1 medium bell pepper, large dice
For the biscuits:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk, divided
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
Make the filling: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F.
Heat the oil in a 12-inch cast iron or high-sided stainless steel skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the wine or vinegar and cook until mostly evaporated. Stir in the flour and cook until paste-like. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the water or broth. Add the eggplant, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, and remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt. Gently fold to combine (the pan will be very full) and spread into an even layer; set aside.
Make the biscuits: Whisk the flour, baking powder, thyme, salt, baking soda, and pepper together in a large bowl. Scatter the cold butter cubes over the flour mixture and toss to combine. Working quickly so as not to melt the butter, use a pastry cutter or 2 knives to cut the butter into pea-sized pieces.
Drizzle 1 cup of the buttermilk over the flour mixture and stir gently with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until a moist dough forms. Scoop the dough evenly on top of the ratatouille filling by the 1/3-cup. Brush the tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon buttermilk.
Bake until the sauce is very bubbly, the vegetables are tender, and the tops of the biscuits are golden-brown, 55 to 60 minutes. Let the cobbler rest on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil before serving.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.