By Rosie Hawthorne on September 29, 2016
There’s nothing better than a tomato just picked from your garden, sliced and sandwiched between plain white bread with a slathering of mayonnaise and a sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. It’s pure summer – a big, beautiful bite of summer.
A fresh tomato is a delightful pleasure, limited to just a few months and, sadly, for the rest of the year, we’ll never be able to experience a decent tomato. One must strike while the iron is hot and relish our garden tomatoes while we can.
This year, our tomato crop has been a bumper one. If you’re wondering, I’ve found out that the “Amelia” tomato is perfect for this area. It’s a high-yielding, disease-resistant, large, firm, and uniform tomato that thrives in our climate.
We’ve been enjoying tomatoes in numerous preparations – sandwiches, gazpacho, sauces, salsas, pizzas, and canning tomatoes – and the following sweet tomato pie is a favorite of ours.
Rosie’s Sweet Southern Tomato Pie
1 pie crust (Preferably your favorite homemade pie dough recipe, but the refrigerated, rolled-up ones will do in a pinch. I don’t recommend the frozen in tin pans.)
6-8 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, juiced, and thinly sliced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
½ cup chopped mixed fresh herbs – I used basil, parsley, chives, and thyme.
Freshly cracked black pepper for each layer
½ tsp sugar for each layer
Pats of unsalted butter
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 TB buttermilk
½ cup grated Gruyère cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup Brie cheese, in small pieces
¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs
12 Ritz crackers, crumbled
More pats of unsalted butter
Heat oven to 425°. Press dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Chill 30 minutes. Line pie crust with foil and fill with dried beans to keep the crust from bubbling up as it cooks. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes. Remove beans and foil. Shield edges with foil to keep from burning. Bake an additional 5 minutes until bottom crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
Peel and thinly slice tomatoes. Place slices in a single layer on paper towels and evenly sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt. Let stand ten minutes, then pat dry with paper towel.
Layer tomatoes, chopped onion, and herbs in prepared crust, seasoning each layer with freshly ground pepper and ½ tsp sugar.
Top with a few thin pats of butter. Sprinkle cheeses over top. Stir buttermilk into mayonnaise and spread onto top of tomato pie. Sprinkle Panko and Ritz over top. Dot with additional pats of butter. Bake 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned.
As always, remember that cooking ain’t rocket surgery. I’ve made this pie numerous times with different ingredients. Last time, I used mozzarella, pecorino/romano, and chèvre cheeses. You could also add sautéed squash and zucchini if you like. You might want to try oregano or mint. Think about different combinations of flavors and colors and make it yours. That’s cookin’!
For more recipes, garden visits, and the occasional travelogue, please visit with Rosie at Kitchens Are Monkey Business.
For culinary questions, e-me at firstname.lastname@example.org.