The Best Damn Tomato Pie (Recipe)
When I was growing up we had a small garden in our yard, right behind the pool. My grandfather grew basil, mint, parsley, squash, cucumbers, eggplant and yes, tomatoes. Tons of tomatoes! We had so many that at the end of the season, Pop Pop would pick the green ones and wrap them in newspaper, and let them sit in the basement windows until they ripened. No one in my family was a canner or a jar-er, we just loved tomatoes in our salads and on our sangwiches. Throughout the years though, I’ve found other ways to enjoy tomatoes: salsas, picos, sundried in pastas and with chicken dishes; even roasted for soups and sauces.
Recently, I remembered a recipe I tried a hundred years ago (OK more like 15) for tomato pie and thought to myself, ‘Self--you really need to make that tomato pie again, it was like the best damn tomato pie you ever ate’. Made with juicy, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and 3 different types of ooey, gooey cheeses--I have to agree with myself--this pie is pretty damn good.
A word of warning about this pie: It’s absolutely beautiful to look at whole, but once you start slicing, it’s a big ole cheesey mess. My recipe is adapted from Paula Deen’s recipe, and her slices are picture perfect (um duh, I guess?). You can try to eliminate some of the moisture in the tomatoes (and ultimately the pie) by putting the sliced tomatoes in a colander and salting them slightly to allow the liquid draw out (for about an hour or so), then pat dry with a paper towel.
For a meat free meal, serve the tomato pie with a nice tossed salad with Italian vinaigrette dressing and slices of crusty Italian bread dipped in olive oil.
Would you do anything to tweak this pie? I was thinking maybe giving it a Greek twist by using feta instead of moots, and dill and oregano instead of basil. Or adding chorizo, cheddar and onion for a Mexican flair. Let me know what you think in the comments below!