Here’s one of the best loved recipes on the site—tomato pie! Perfect at the peak of summer tomato season.
One of the great things about going on vacation is I get to hang out with my friends, and sometimes meet their friends, who sometimes have OMG-this-is-so-GOOD dishes that they bring over. This tomato pie recipe is a result of one of these encounters.
The first time I heard of it (“tomato pie”, hmm, oooookaaaay) my brain suffered a little cognitive dissonance (never heard those two words, tomato and pie, joined at the hip like that before). Seconds after taking a bite however, I was begging for the recipe.
It’s a savory pie, not sweet, filled with fresh garden tomatoes, sprinkled with basil, and held together with a mixture of mayonnaise and shredded cheese. The egg in the mayo acts as a binder to help hold the filling in place.
Many thanks to Diane Connolly (aka Lady Di) who graciously wrote it out on some post-it notes for me at the dinner table. It is the first thing I cooked when I got back home. Think pizza meets cheesy bread and they make-out in a pie crust.
The recipe lends itself to estimates. Handfuls of this, handfuls of that. I measured, but you could eyeball it and it would still work out. Feel free to change the cheeses around, play with the spices. I made a homemade pie crust, but for this recipe a good quality prepared crust would work fine.
You could also bulk it up a bit more with a cup or so of fresh corn, or some small diced eggplant that has been lightly browned on the stovetop first.
If you want to take this recipe up a notch, you can caramelize the onions while prepping the other ingredients. If you do that, double the amount of onion.
- 1 9-inch pie shell (see pie crust recipe for homemade version)
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow or red onion (about 1/3 onion, diced)
- 3-4 tomatoes, cut in half horizontally, squeezed to remove excess juice, roughly chopped, to yield approximately 3 cups (700 ml) chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sliced basil (about 8 large leaves)*
- 2 cups (8 oz, 225 g) grated cheese (combination of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack, or Gruyere or Mozzarella)
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon (or more to taste) of Frank's Hot Sauce (or Tabasco)
- Freshly ground black pepper
*To slice basil, chiffonade them by stacking the leaves on top of each other, roll them up like a cigar, starting at one end slice the "cigar" crosswise in thin slices.
1 Pre-bake the crust: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Pre-bake the pie shell in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes (a little longer for a frozen pie shell), until lightly browned.
If you are using a homemade crust, freeze the crust first, then press a sheet of aluminum foil into the crust to keep the sides of the pie crust from falling down as it cooks.
It helps to add some pie weights to hold the foil in place (I use several cups of dry pinto beans for this purpose).
Pre-bake it for 15 minutes, then remove the foil, use the tines of a fork to poke a few small holes in the bottom of the crust (for venting), and bake for 10 more minutes.
2 Salt and drain the tomatoes: Lightly salt the chopped tomatoes and set them in a colander over a bowl to drain while you are pre-baking the crust.
Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the chopped tomatoes, using either paper towels, a clean dish towel, or a potato ricer.
3 Layer pre-baked pie shell with onions, tomatoes, basil: Sprinkle a layer of chopped onion over the bottom of your pre-baked pie crust shell.
Spread the drained chopped tomatoes over the onions. Sprinkle the sliced basil over the tomatoes.
4 Make cheese mixture, spread over tomatoes: In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, Tabasco, a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.
The mixture should be the consistency of a gooey snowball. Spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes.
5 Bake: Place in oven and bake at 350°F (175°C) until browned and bubbly, anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes.