This dish is my all time summer favorite; bar none. It is one I set my sights on at summer’s start, barely able to wait until now when the tomatoes are perfect to make it.
I discovered this dish a few years ago in my darling cookbook Fresh From The Garden Cookbook by Ann Lovejoy. Ann hails from the Pacific Northwest which for a Locavore like me is ‘Nirvana’. Every aspect of the food scape is available locally there. I did a giveaway of Ann’s cookbook earlier this year. Please click here to learn more about the cookbook, all of Ann’s fascinating endeavors and see more of her cool season recipes.
Since I eat seasonally, available ingredients lead and the recipes follow in my food preparation. Ann’s cookbook is broken down seasonally so it’s easy to scan when getting a beautiful new vegetable for how to best prepare it.
I came upon the tomato pie and decided to try it. I imagined it might be a nice way to use the abundance of fresh, heirloom tomatoes in a new way. I did NOT imagine how over-the-top delicious it would be. It would convert tomato-haters to devotees I feel sure.
First when cooking the house fills with the buttery smell of pie crust punctuated by the flavor of cooking garlic (is there any more alluring smell in a kitchen?). When tasting it, the tomatoes are firm, there is a beautiful crunch from the bread crumbs, the distinct flavor of pecorino cheese (l-o-v-e that flavor), garlic, and the buttery taste of the crust. Though it’s best served right after cooking, it does stand up the next day. It does not get watery or sloppy in the crust as one might expect.
To me, you have not celebrated summer unless you’ve tried this dish.
FRESH SAVORY TOMATO PIE
Ann suggests using a range of ripe tomatoes to achieve the fullest possible flavor. Mix succulent heirlooms with new hybrids.
· Pastry (or curst) for an 8 inch to 9 inch pie crust
· ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
· ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
· 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
· 2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil leaves
· 4 ripe tomatoes, cut in half and sliced
· 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half
· 1 cup red cherry tomatoes, cut in half
· 1 cup fine bread crumbs
· ½ cup coarsely grated fresh mozzarella
· ½ cup coarsely grated pecorino or Asiago cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line an 8 inch or 9 inch pie pan with pie crust OR take the lazy-girl route like me and use a purchased pie crust (see below). If you are gluten free, adapt the crust type to your needs.
2. Prick the crust all over with a fork and bake until lightly browned (8-12 minutes; check frequently after 8 minutes so it does not brown too much). Remove the crust and set aside. Leave the oven on.
3. Place all the tomatoes in a medium sized bowl.
4. In a separate small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, garlic and basil. Sprinkle over tomatoes and let sit for 10 minutes.
5. Gently layer the tomatoes into the pastry shell with the bread crumbs and cheeses, beginning and ending with a light layer of bread crumbs and cheese.
6. Bake until warmed through, about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve straight away.
My personal cooking notes:
1. Confession? It’s hot and I’m lazy. I used a Whole Foods frozen Gluten Free Pie Crust. I thawed it and proceeded with the instructions in this recipe. Feel free to make your own or adapt similarly.
2. ‘Express yourself’ with your tomatoes. Red Wagon Farm at the Boulder Farmer’s Market sells a mix of Cherry Tomatoes in pint Mason jars at this time of year (they dump them into a paper sack when you purchase them). So I substituted 2 cups of the mixed varieties in my pie for the cup of each red and yellow cherry tomatoes.
3. I bake my own gluten free bread with chia seeds and hemp seeds in it. If it’s left out unwrapped a few days it becomes quite hard. I put it in the food processor, process it into crumbs, bag them and freeze them for recipes such as this. You can do the same with regular bread too. No waste!
Recipe adapted from Fresh from the Garden Cookbook.