The Making of Tomato Pie, savory

Even though I consider myself a southern woman I had never had, much less eaten, a tomato pie until last summer. How did I survive without this delicacy?!

I make this pie several times throughout the summer and it is sorely missed once the last ripe tomatoes are gone. It is often served with a side vegetable like green beans, fried okra or slaw and followed with a fruit dessert. For Gene and I, who eat little meat, the tomato pie is a main course and a whole pie makes two meals for us.

Get those tomatoes sliced and draining a couple hours before mealtime to remove the extra moisture otherwise the pie will be soggy. This is experience speaking to you.

Sliced tomatoes need to drain well to remove excess moisture for a sturdy pie. These tomatoes are Black Krims and Celebrity.

Gather your herbs and rinse them well. Leave to dry on a clean kitchen towel or use a salad spinner. Then just before adding them to the pie topping chop finely with a sharp knife.

Freshly gathered herbs to season the pie – clockwise starting top left; parsley, basil, chives, thyme, summer savory, Greek oregano

Use the fine side of the cheese grater to grate sharp cheddar.

Freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese

Saute the onions in some butter just until tender and allow them to cool some.

Chop and saute onions in a bit of butter

I keep several pieces of pie dough in the freezer and thaw it out in the fridge the evening before. When your tomatoes are good and drained lay them out in the pre-baked pie shell and top with the cooled onions.

The sauteed onions top the sliced and drained tomatoes

The pie filling as it is called (I call it a topping) is the grand finale of this delicacy. When making it don’t change a thing the first time – try it the way it is. It is so perfect. And the amount seems like it is not enough but it is really perfect also. Dollop the topping on and then gently pat it into place with a fork. It will look scant to you but it is plenty and will fill in little empty spaces as it bakes.

Ready for the oven – topped with cheese, mayo and herbs

Sometimes we have a cucumber and banana smoothie for dessert after this pie. Yum!

Can you believe it? I do not have a photo of the finished pie! Leek pie, check. Onion pie, check. Green tomato pie, check. No Tomato Pie pic. Am I a bad blogger?!

I might be able to scrap one more tomato pie out of the ripening tomatoes in the kitchen but I think summer and summer food has come to an end now with the temperatures as low as they have gotten this week. Time for some winter food!

What is your favorite fall food?

Tomato Cheddar Pie

3 large heirloom tomatoes (about 2 pounds), sliced 1/4″ thick

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

All-purpose flour (for surface)

pie dough for an 8 or 9 inch shell

1 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion (about 1/2 medium onion)

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar (about 4 ounces)

1/2 cup mayonnaise (preferably Duke’s)

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, parsley, and/or thyme

1 teaspoon mild hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Make the filling and bake the pie:

Line a rimmed baking sheet with several layers of paper towels. Arrange tomato slices on prepared sheet, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt, and cover with more paper towels. Let drain at least 30 minutes. (I drain for a couple hours)

Position rack in bottom rung of oven and preheat to 350°F. Pre-bake your favorite pie dough shell for ten minutes, then cool

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium. Add onion, butter, and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and just starting to brown, 5–8 minutes. Let cool.

Combine cheese, mayonnaise, herbs, hot sauce, pepper, onion mixture, and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Blot tomatoes with fresh paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible. Arrange tomato slices in pie shell and top with filling; smooth. (I do this ahead of time even the evening before, and refrigerate)

Bake pie, rotating halfway through, until golden brown, 40–45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before slicing.


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