Bountiful gardens with tomatoes-a-plenty mean it’s time for a slice of summer.
Why does a homegrown tomato taste infinitely better than a grocery store tomato?
Gary of Gary’s Down East Restaurant told me that the yummy tomatoes they use in the summer come from a farm that never refrigerates them, even for shipping. So maybe cooler temps = less flavor, which is why a tomato ripe to perfection from the garden tastes like summer. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, that’s just my (uneducated) guess.
Apparently tomato pie is a Philly thing, the recipe brought over by Italians who settled in PA. Then the South took the concept but put a spin on it, adding mayo and lots of cheese, a Southern cook’s favorite ingredients.
Our neighbor and resident chef Terri (from the North now living in the South so she has her bases covered) has been busy gardening and cooking this summer. And after a few attempts, delicious as they were, she has now tweaked the tomato pie recipe to perfection with a little help from her neighbor, Rose.
TASTES LIKE SUMMER TOMATO PIE
Recipe courtesy of Terri MacMahon
- 1 9-inch pre-baked pie crust
- 1 egg white, slightly beaten
- 5 large Roma tomatoes or 4 medium round tomatoes, peeled and sliced thick approx. ¼ inch
- OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup green onion
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of fresh basil or ½ teaspoon of dry basil
- 1/8 teaspoon each dry mustard, garlic powder, cracked pepper
- 3 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¾ cup freshly shredded cheddar cheese
Terri tip: I use Ashe County Mountain Cheddar Sharp from Harbourside Garden Co.
STEP 1: the prep
Slice tomatoes and lay them in a single layer in a colander in a sink. Sprinkle salt over the tomatoes to help bring out their liquid, and let them rest at least 10 minutes.
Use a paper towel to blot the excess juice out.
Terri tip: the blotting is really important, no one likes a soggy tomato pie.
STEP 2: the crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush sides and rim of the pie shell with beaten egg white; prick crust and sides with tines of fork.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until light golden, do not overcook. Let crust cool.
STEP 3: the assembly
Layer the tomato slices (and optional green onion) in pre-baked pie shell.
Combine mayo with dry mustard, lemon juice, basil, pepper and garlic powder. Mix in parmesan, 1/2 cup cheddar and 1/2 cup mozzarella, reserving 1/4 cup each cheddar and motz
Spread mayo mixture on top of the tomatoes and sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of cheddar and ¼ cup of mozzarella on the top
STEP 4: the baking
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
STEP 5: the eating