Hey ya’ll. Been a long minute but you know…. life happens and the “rona” has made it really weird for the last 437 months of 2020. But I am not even going there with my views on this mess in our world other than to say we all need to keep praying. And being nice and cooking and trying to find our way back to normal. And this recipe does just that… reminds me of summer and normalcy.
Ewww….. tomato pie? nooooo….. I understand…. it’s not for everyone, but don’t knock it till you slice it. I “stole” this recipe, well parts of it from Paula Deen and made it my own. First time I made it I was a bit hesitant to try it even though it had all my favorites in it. But it is SOOOOO good. Even my not so tomato loving seester likes it. I prefer it room temperature or slightly warmed, but honestly it is even good cold. So lets get going. Look who’s here! My favorite friend butter…. even tho he’s not a player in this game….he’s still my favorite.
My lovely friend Johna brought me a bag of homegrown tomatoes and they were perfect. My basil is out of control and taking over the world (my raised bed) so I grabbed about 10-12 leaves. I cheated and used a store bought crust. Which works just fine.
Let’s start by heating up the oven and getting that pie crust “pre baked”…. which means bake it till right before its brown…. while that is happening, let’s get to the maters and on-yons. Core, (peel if you wish…) and slice tomatoes. Wait – let’s talk about peeling. I have done it both ways… pro’s and con’s to each. Unpeeled….. you risk fighting a stringy peel with your front teeth. Peeled… bigger risk of mushiness all together. UNLESS you use roma tomatoes… in the winter when they are more firm and have less seeds.. then peel them rascals. Homegrown…. I say no peeling. ANYWAY do whatever you decide and slice em up and then spread them out on a rack or paper towel lined sheet pan and sprinkle with salt (helps to remove moisture). Let them set a good 10-15 minutes or so.
Halve the onion and thinly slice…. Now. For my next trick. Flaming ze onyon. I’m not sure who, where, how I picked this up. But it works. Err time. On any onion. This little gem of knowledge takes all the bite and bitter out of an onion, especially when using in a recipe that calls for raw diced or sliced onion, like pico de gallo, tartar sauce, potato salad, etc. So simple…. fill a bowl with ice and water and soak the slices for 5-10 minutes, then drain well. I normally do not “flame” onions if they are going to be cooked. That being said, I think red onions have a bite from the devil and must be tamed no matter what they are being used for. So they get dunked.
Once your maters have drained for a bit, finish removing any excess liquid with paper towels. You will be amazed at how much liquid can come out of one little mater. This step really makes all the difference in the world…. the more moisture you can get out, the better your pie will hold together when you cut and serve. ACCCKKKKK – check your pie crust. Prolly done. Just saying. Take it out and let it cool…unless it’s burnt. Then chunk it and start over.
Now thinly slice your basil leaves…. there’s a whole debate right now in the foodie world (per the hubs) about whether to chop or “tear” fresh herbs. I say roll em up and chop em. Nobody cares. More importantly, to me basil is a love it or hate it food. Not much in between. I looooovvvvveeeee it and grow massive amounts every year. The hubs…. ehhhh… not so much. He can tolerate small amounts. It is quite a strong flavor and can either make or break a dish. I used a lot in this pie…. but if you don’t love it…. use a little. If you despise it…. leave it out. I totally understand and have the same feeling about fennel seeds…. (insert gagging noise). You could also go crazy and sub in some cilantro, a sprinkle of cumin, sliced jalepenos, use pepper jack cheese and take this little dish to mexico. The world is your pie. Cause oysters ain’t in season.
Now let’s build this baby. Layer your tomatoes, onion and basil. Then season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining ingredients and season again. Gosh my lighting is awful today.
Set that masterpiece aside and let’s make some cheesy goodness to top it with. Get your cheeses grated… again… use what you got or what you like or even shredded cheese in the bag (shudder). You just need 2 1/2 cups of cheese. I like a blend of cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan. Mix with a cup or so of mayo… use real mayo (The Duke is my fav)… the “whip” makes it too sweet and doesn’t brown as well. Season it up… I added salt and pep, garlic powder and teensy shake of cayenne. Look at butter hanging out in the corner…..always there for me.
Spread it out on your pie, sealing all the way to the edge of the crust. And yes, you may need to use your fingers to make this happen and not have your filling ingredients escape. But it’s fine since we are all washing our hands now…. lol. Excuse the blurry photo. Had cheese on my fengerss.
So pop that lovely girl on a sheet pan and into the oven. Check after 30 minutes or so… I let this one go around 45 minutes to get the top and crust browned. NOW. Once you remove that beauty from the oven…. Walk away. At least for 15-20 minutes…. otherwise you will have a mess when you try to serve. Once she has settled down, slice her up and eat her!! Hope you enjoy. Recipe down yonder.
- 9” pie crust (homemade or store bought)
- 5-6 tomatoes, (sliced) or (sliced and peeled)
- ½ small red onion, halved and sliced thin
- 8-10 basil leaves
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup sharp cheddar – grated
- 1 cup mozzarella – grated
- ½ cup parmesan cheese – grated
- Seasoning – salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, whatever you like
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When preheated, pre-bake the pie crust until set and allow to cool while you prep your other ingredients. Core, slice and/or peel tomatoes in thick slices. Spread out on rack/colander and sprinkle with salt. Let drain 10-15 minutes and use paper towels to dry them out. The drier the tomatoes the better the pie holds together. Slice the onions and put to soak in a bowl of ice water for 5-10 minutes, then drain on paper towels. Roll up and slice the basil into thin shreds. Layer half of the tomatoes, onions and basil, seasoning with salt and pepper, then repeat with the remainder, following with seasoning again. Grate cheeses and mix well with mayo. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cayenne if you want some heat and garlic if you want some funk. Spread the topping to edge of the crust. Bake for 30-45 minutes until top is browned. Let rest for at LEAST 15 minutes before cutting in order for the pie to set and hold together.