• 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for rolling (about 1/8 cup or so)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons very cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Beefsteak or heirloom tomato
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 heads of garlic

I was thrilled when I saw that the tomato, one of my favorite fruits, was to be a featured item in the 2011 Food Network Summer Fest series. You can join the conversation on Twitter at #cookingwith. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, oranges and tomatoes are true fruits and are developed from the ovary in the base of the flower which contains the seeds of the plant.

I instantly knew what recipe I would be contributing to Summer Fest, but I did not realize who I would be cooking it with! A couple of months ago, I met North Carolina Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall, at a luncheon. I did not realize how much we had in common. Both the Secretary and I are big supporters of local sustainability (her dad was a farmer), we both love to cook, and are both writing a cookbook. I was also greatly inspired by Secretary Marshall’s belief that “you’re never to old to begin a successful career.” After being a stay-at-home and homeschooling mother of two for twenty-two years, that was certainly good news for me!

Secretary Marshall and I decided that it would be fun to cook together one afternoon. Arrangements were made and I could hardly believe that the Secretary of State was coming to cook with me in my home! We began our day shopping at the State Farmer’s Market. You can read more about the Secretary’s visit here and the Green Tomato Spice Cake with Brown Butter Icing I made for her visit. This cake was also featured on Charlotte Today.

We made my Tomato Parmesan Biscuits and the Secretary showed me how she made her Tomatoes Methodist Style. (videos soon to follow) Here is a little sneak peek of the video made with Secretary Marshall.

Here in the south, Buttermilk Biscuits are a staple in many Southern homes as is the Tomato Sandwich. A fresh slice of a homegrown tomato sprinkled with salt and pepper between two slices of bread that has been slathered with mayonnaise or butter is a sandwich that many people grow up eating here in the south. My idea was to make this into a tomato biscuit sandwich with a twist.

I began by roasting the garlic in a 400 degree oven for one hour.

While the garlic roasted I began making my biscuits. Here are the stars of this recipe minus a special ingredient.

Once the dry ingredients and VERY COLD butter were incorporated I added freshly shredded Parmesan cheese to the mixture. Watch how pretty the biscuits will look once baked because of the addition of Parmesan, and good heavens, what great flavor!

Now it was time to add the buttermilk! I was careful not to over mix my dough mixture. A fork was all I needed.

When rolling out my dough I only added a little extra flour because a sticky dough makes the best biscuits! I rolled my dough out to just about half of an inch or so. I learned something a long time ago and the Secretary, who won several 4 H bread baking awards in her time, was also quick to point out that while cutting out biscuits, you must always be sure to dip your biscuit cutter into a little flour, press straight down and lift straight up. Resist twisting the cutter because the biscuit will not rise properly.

I used a three-inch biscuit cutter. This recipe makes one dozen biscuits. You may only get eight or so when you roll the dough out so you will most likely have to knead the rest together once more. Be sure to not overwork the dough. I’d just hate for you to create a dense tough biscuit. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet and brush with a little olive oil. My hubby and I got this lovely fruity olive oil while vacationing in Charleston, North Carolina two weeks ago.

Wake up a little dried basil by crushing between your fingers and sprinkling over each biscuit. Grind some fresh black pepper on top of your biscuits as well.

Place your biscuits in your preheated oven and bake them for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Your garlic should have been cooled by now and making your roasted garlic butter will help you focus on something besides the infectious aroma of your biscuits baking!

Isn’t roasted garlic a beautiful thing?

In a small bowl, squeeze the roasted garlic out and combine with your softened butter …

THE BISCUITS ARE OUT!! …ahem…excuse me. I’m just a little excited!

I could not resist waiting for my biscuits to cool, so in a labor love (and a true lack of patience) I burned my little finger tips while slathering my roasted garlic butter all over my biscuit…Oh, yes…all over!

As you can see even the tomatoes are excited! Aren’t local tomatoes lovely? Did you know that you should never store your tomatoes in the refrigerator because they will lose their wonderful fresh flavor? Tomatoes like to soak up the sun so place them in a bowl or on a plate near a window!

It is now time to nestle this freshly sliced tomato, picked only hours ago and purchased at my local Farmer’s Market, between these two slices of fluffy Buttermilk Biscuit … drum roll please … but before I place the top of my biscuit back on, a light sprinkling of black pepper and perhaps a pinch of salt top the tomato and there you have it … the perfect Tomato Parmesan Biscuit! The only biscuit I feel worthy of this freshly-picked, perfectly-ripened tomato!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a serrated knife, cut off the top of your garlic heads to expose the cloves; sorry cloves! Place your garlic on a piece of foil. Drizzle a touch of olive oil over each garlic head and close up the foil. Bake in your oven for one hour or until softened and nicely golden. Allow the garlic to cool.

In a food processor with a dough blade, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter. Pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs. You can also use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the flour mixture if you need to. Place mixture in a large bowl and stir in the cheese. Add the buttermilk, stir just until combined with a fork. Place on a floured surface and press together. Knead until a soft ball forms.

Pat or roll out into a ½-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits using a biscuit cutter and arrange on baking sheet. When cutting our your biscuits, be sure to dip your biscuit cutter into a little flour, press down and lift straight up. Do not twist as you cut your biscuits out. Cutting straight down and then straight up will insure that your biscuits rise properly.

Brush the top of your biscuits with a good olive oil and sprinkle dried basil over the top. Wake up your dried basil by crushing it a bit between your fingers. Bake biscuits for about 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown on top.

While your biscuits are baking, squeeze out the roasted garlic and mix it in with the butter.

Cut your biscuits in half using a serrated knife, slather garlic butter on one side of the biscuit, place a slice of tomato, grind black pepper over top and a pinch of salt, place top of biscuit back on and take a BIG bite and get ready for your family to kiss you!

Secretary Marshall and me shopping for tomatoes at the local Farmer’s Market.

The Secretary and I ate many biscuits together!

More Cooking with Elise recipes featuring one of my favorites, fresh tomatoes…

It’s Difficult to Think Anything but Pleasant Thoughts While Eating a Homegrown Tomato
Tomato-Tasting Time!
Cavatappi and Tomatoes and Garlic
Bistecchine di maiale (Pork Chops in Italian)
The Great BLT… my version!
Cheese Fondue, a warm party appetizer, with Roasted Vegetables
Farro and Cherry Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Lemony Basil Pesto
Elise’s Best Salsa

Take a look at all of these amazing tomato recipes created by other Summer Fest food bloggers!

Big Girls Small Kitchen: Seared Chicken with Cherry Tomato Pan Sauce
Haute Apple Pie: Heirloom Tomato & Three Cheese Tart
What’s Gaby Cooking: Zebra Tomato and Burrata Crostini
Zaika Zabardast: Balsamic Roasted Tomato-Basil Ice
And Love It Too: Healthy Lunchbox – Garlic Tomato Basil Pesto Bruchetta
Chez Us: Roasted Tomato Sauce
Daily*Dishin: Refreshing and Rustic – Tuscan Bread Salad
Glory Foods: Fresh Tomato Salsa
Dishin and Dishes: Tomato Tart Tatin
The Purple Cook: Eggplant Parmesan Caprese Salad
I Am Mommy: Tomato Crudite
Cooking With My Kid: Gluten-Free White Bean Chive Cakes with Heirloom Tomatoes
FN Dish: Easy Tomato Appetizers
Add a Pinch: Simple Caprese Salad Skewers
Sweet Life Bake: Salsa Cruda
Virtually Homemade: Farfalle with Roasted Tomato Sauce, Bacon and Shaved Romano
Dixie Chik Cooks: Tomato, Basil and Olive Bruschetta
The Sensitive Epicure: Yemista – Greek Stuffed Tomatoes & Peppers with Potatoes
Mooshu Jenne: Sun Burst Tomato Pasta
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Book Club, Tomatoes and a Recipe for Chicken Provençal?
Cooking With Elise: Tomato Parmesan Biscuits
From My Corner of Saratoga: Cooking from the Garden – Bruschetta Pizza
Fritos and Foie Gras: Tomato Terrine
Creative Culinary: Fresh and Savory Tomato Pie
Big Apple Nosh: Caprese Salad/Tomato Carnage
Spices and Aroma: Quick and Easy Paneer Curry
Zaika Zabardast: Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Breakfast Rolls