I’m always on the lookout for recipes that make good use of my home grown crops. So when I relocated from Ohio to North Carolina seven years ago, I immersed myself in the joys of Southern cuisine. The options were legion. Pickled okra, fried pickles, properly cooked collards...the list goes on. Although I first heard about tomato pie not from a seasoned local, but rather in an NPR interview with a woman from Massachusetts, this summer recipe has southern cooking written all over it. I was on board, soon hooked, and a summer tradition was born.
Seasonal tomatoes, Vidalia onions, fresh basil, bacon and a topping of mayonnaise blended with shredded cheese, this dish is decadent without apology, but still manages to capture the bright, fresh flavors of the garden.
Not convinced? For the uninitiated, that layer of mayonnaise and cheese may sound a little daunting. Believe me, I get it. Once cooked, though, it is barely recognizable as the egg and oil that comprise mayonnaise merge with gooey cheese into a golden goodness that will make you a believer.
Although hothouse tomatoes are available all year long, tomato pie is strictly a summer treat at my place. Using home grown tomatoes and freshly picked basil, tomato pie is the taste of summer. As the garden begins to yield, my friends don’t ask it the tomatoes have ripened. They ask, “Is it tomato pie time yet?”
I faced some blight issues with my tomato plants this year, but thankfully, there are still plenty of tomatoes in the garden, prime for the picking. Indeed, my friends, tomato pie time has arrived and summer is officially upon us.
Grab a fork.
- 1 nine inch pie shell
- 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 slices bacon,cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
Blind bake (pre-bake) pie shell in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Slice tomatoes and place on a wire rack.
Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and let rest 10 minutes.
Layer tomatoes, bacon, onion and basil in pie shell.
Stir pepper, cheddar cheese and mayonnaise together to fully combine.
Spread combined cheese/mayo in an even layer on top of tomatoes.
Sprinkle panko evenly over top of pie.
Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.