M: I first heard about tomato pie where I learn about so many wonderful things, NPR. In 2009, All Things Considered ran a series on inexpensive recipes. The submitter of one entry spoke fondly about growing up with a recipe similar to this one, passed down from her mother and grandmother. What made it stand out for me (other than my love for all things tomato) was the top layer – shredded cheese and mayonnaise stirred together and spread over the top of the pie. Intellectually, I say sure. Mayonnaise isn’t much more than eggs and oil, two things that seem right at home here. Viscerally, I don’t know… sounded a little wrong somehow. So I did what I usually do in these situations. I asked around. When asked if they were familiar with this dish, Southern eyes would light up, frequently followed by tales of garden harvests and grandmas. This is familiar. This is *comfort* food. To the kitchen I went. What resulted has become a summer standard at my house.
I shouldn’t have been surprised. Ripe heirloom tomatoes, crisp bacon, fresh herbs and gooey cheese, all nestled in a warm, flaky crust. I make my pie crust from scratch, using the 3-2-1 method from Michael Ruhlman’s must have book, Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking (Seriously. Must have.). If you want to use store bought pie crust, though, that’ll do just fine. The only thing the recipe here doesn’t include that my pie usually does is Vidalia onions. I missed them a little, but that is easily remedied by slicing thin a medium onion and layering it with the rest. With onion or without, this is crazy good stuff. You might want to make two.
Recipe: Tomato Pie
Summary: Fresh tomatoes layered with bacon and topped with cheese and, yes, mayonnaise. From The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook
- 1 1/2 Lb Fresh Tomatoes, cut into 1/4″ slices
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 T Fresh Thyme or 12 Fresh Basil Leaves
- 8 Slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 Nine inch Pie Shell
- 2 T Olive Oil
- Sat and Black Pepper
- 3/4 c Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- 3/4 c Mayonnaise
- 1/3 c Ritz crackers, crumbled
- Blind bake shell at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.
- Place tomato slices on a wire rack, sprinkle with salt and let rest at least 10 minutes.
- Layer tomatoes, thyme or basil, and bacon in pie shell.
- Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Stir cheese and mayonnaise together in a bowl and spread evenly over top of tomatoes.
- Sprinkle cracker crumbs on top.
- Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes or until browned.
- Let rest at least 10-15 minutes before serving.