From “Tomatoes & Mozzarella” by Hallie Harron and Shelley Sikora (Harvard Press, $19.95). For the best texture and flavor, it is best to make and serve shortcakes the day you bake them.
For the shortcakes 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup cornmeal 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning 2 teaspoons baking powder 3/4 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 -inch pieces 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
For the shortcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 -inch pieces
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
For the topping
1 cup diced small ripe red tomatoes (about 5 1/2 ounces)
1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinega
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 6 thick slices
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (low-fat OK)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper. Place the flour, cornmeal, sugar, Italian seasoning, baking powder, salt and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine thoroughly. Add the butter and pulse into a grainy mixture. Add 1 cup of the buttermilk and pulse into a soft dough.
Remove the dough from the processor and place on a well-floured surface. Roll the dough into a 1/2 -inch-thick rectangle and cut out 3-inch rounds using a biscuit or cookie cutter. Reroll the scraps as necessary to use all of the dough for 6 rounds. Place on the prepared pan and brush the tops with the remaining buttermilk. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until browned.
While the shortcakes bake and cool, make the topping by placing the tomatoes, shallot, Italian seasoning, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside.
To serve the shortcakes, split each cake horizontally. Place a slice of the mozzarella cheese on the bottom half, and top with about 1/2 cup topping. It is fine if the topping slightly spills over onto the plate or platter. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the sour cream over the topping and place the other biscuit half on top. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Per serving: 436 calories; 24 g fat (13 g saturated fat; 50 percent calories from fat); 44 g carbohydrates; 55 mg cholesterol; 859 mg sodium; 12 g protein; 2 g fiber.