Thursday, July 3, 2014

Recipe: Tomato Pie

When I tell people that I'm eating "Tomato Pie" it often generates a quizzical look. Most people - especially Americans - equate pie with sweetness, with dessert. Tomato pie of course is a savory dish and one that has been a summer staple in my family for many years. A photo of this summer favorite has generated a lot of requests for the recipe and I'm happy to oblige.

I am uncertain of the provenance of this recipe. My mother introduced it to me and my siblings growing up though I doubt I had any interest in it until my late teens. I know for certain that my mother and sister still make it and my wife has become the standard bearer in our house. 

  • 1 pie crust (homemade is best but frankly, Pillsbury has a soft refrigerated one that more than gets the job done). 
  • 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese 
  • 5 medium size ripe tomatoes (preferably homegrown or farmer's market)
  • 1 cup fresh, loosely packed basil leaves 
  • 4 cloves garlic 
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise   
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper 

  1. Make a pie crust or pre-bake Pillsbury pie crust according to package directions (usually 9 minutes). Remove from oven. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese 
  2. Cut tomatoes into wedges. Drain on paper towels. Arrange on top of cheese in baked pie shells. (Photo 1)
  3. In food processor, combine basil and garlic. Process until coarsely chopped. Sprinkle over tomatoes. 
  4. In mixing bowl, combine remaining cheese, mayo, Parmesan cheese and pepper. Spoon over basil mixture. 
  5. Bake in 375º oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden and bubbly. (Photo 2)
  6. Serve. (Note: It's screaming hot, so letting it sit for 5-10 minutes might be appropriate)
  • Hearty enough to be a meal in itself but pairs well with fish, fresh corn on the cob, and booze.
  • Garlic lovers can amp up the garlic to their heart's desire.
  • What the hell... heavy-up the mayo and cheeses while you're at it. 
  • If there's one secret to this recipe it's using good tomatoes and fresh basil. Related: Sometimes cherry tomatoes are your best bet.

Photo 1 - This is your pie after steps 2 and 3

Photo 2 - Remove from oven when it's golden and bubbly.