Tomato Onion Pie

I can’t believe this is my first tomato pie of the summer, but it is.  Criminal.  This is just the best stuff.  My motivation for putting it together was an invitation to “Lobsterpalooza” with some friends.  That’s right, a bunch of folks gathered around a table picking lobsters on a Saturday night.  It’s pretty hard to beat.  I wanted to take something worthy of the occasion.  There are a million ways to make tomato pie and pretty much any recipe you choose will be about the best thing you’ve ever eaten provided you get good tomatoes.  My hat is off to the folks at Rocking F Farm in Hanover County for  growing fantastic Hanover tomatoes and selling them at a very reasonable price.

Because I was cooking for 10 people I made this tomato pie in a casserole dish instead of a deep dish pie pan.  I used a store bought crust, one and a half of them actually, because Pillsbury is good at pie crust and I am not.  I’ve learned to live with that.  I started with an Emeril Lagasse recipe and made a few adjustments.  I left out the thyme because I don’t like it in this.  I used extra sharp cheddar instead of fontina because in my world tomato pie has cheddar in it.  I left off the Parmesan because I just didn’t need it.  I did like that this recipe uses less egg and mayonnaise than some without sacrificing any of the flavor.  And if you know me then you know that the key to the whole thing is that the mayo has to be Duke’s.

A few tips for making a good tomato pie.  Do not try to make this in the Winter.  It’s tomato pie so the tomatoes really matter.  Get good fresh ones.  They should be ripe, but firm enough that they slice easily.  Leave yourself plenty of time.  You pre-bake the crust.  The finished dish bakes for an hour and sits for another 30 minutes before you can cut into it and expect it to keep its shape.  Think lasagna timing.  The process is pretty similar.  You get all your ingredients together and put them in the pan in layers.  If you’ve made an actual pie then by all means cut it into slices.  If you make it in a casserole dish you can cut it into squares or serve it with a big spoon.  Just make sure you get all the way to the crust when you serve it.  Otherwise you’ll miss the flaky, buttery goodness at the bottom of the pan.

This pie has lots of cheese, sweet onions, fresh basil and just enough eggs and mayonnise to hold it together.  It doesn’t get much better than that. Two regrets:   one, in my haste to get out the door I didn’t remember to take a picture and two, I didn’t make enough to have leftovers to bring home.  It got rave reviews from the Lobsterpalooza crowd.  It’s hard to imagine a tomato pie that would get anything less than a rave.  Happy, happy summer food!

Good? So amazingly good.
Easy? Let’s call it intermediate. Lots of steps and lots of time.
Good for company? You’ll be the hit of any party.
Special shopping? Get farmers’ market tomatoes or, better yet, ones from your own garden!

Tomato Onion Pie

Ingredients

Note: These are the ingredients for 1 deep dish pie. I used half again as much to make a 9X13 pan full.
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup panko
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg
1 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onions
3 tablespoons chiffonade fresh basil
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll out the pie crust on a lightly floured surface to fit a deep 9 or 10-inch pie pan. Place the pastry in the pie pan and crimp edges decoratively. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, then line with aluminum foil. Fill with pie weights and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges. Remove foil and pie weights, and return to the oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool.
Slice the tomatoes, discarding the stem and root ends, into 1/4-inch slices and lightly season with the salt and pepper.

Sprinkle about 1/3 of the bread crumbs in the bottom of the pie crust. In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise with the egg and stir until smooth. Place a layer of tomatoes in the bottom of the piecrust over the breadcrumbs, using about half of the tomatoes, then top with half of the sliced onions. Drizzle with half of the mayonnaise mixture, half of the basil, half of the cheddar and half of the mozzarella cheeses. Top with half of the remaining breadcrumbs then top with the remaining tomato slices, remaining onions, remaining cheddar and mozzarella, remaining mayonnaise mixture, and remaining basil. Top with the remaining bread crumbs and drizzle with the olive oil.

Place in the oven and bake until bubbly hot and golden brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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One Response to “Tomato Onion Pie”

  1. Lisa Hawks Says:

    Okay, as a(nother) guest at this bring-along-a-side fest, I can EASILY say this was the best, most satisfying dish among the options. The hosts make their own intimidatingly good spanakopita, so I wouldn’t easily offer a vegetable pie of any sort. That said, this was a no-brainer great “side” for the unabashed fresh lobsters served.

    It would be a perfect entree with a spinach salad, or other summer veggie side, but the fresh tomatoes and buttery, toasty crust were great with those pristine crustaceans.

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