baking · Breakfast and brunch

What Would Life Be Without Homegrown Tomatoes? (Baked Tomato Pie)

It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato. ~Lewis Grizzard

Painting by Mark Satchwill Art

Tomatoes are one of my favorite parts of summer in the South.  They have been a constant in my life since childhood.  We had them daily, it seemed, in sandwiches, salads, and sliced as a side with dinner. Even in the winter we’d have those puny-looking, hard pink tomatoes that have been shipped for miles to get to the grocery store and have virtually no flavor; I think they were just there for color contrast with the iceberg lettuce that my parents always bought.  But they were there. My friends, the tomatoes.

The summer tomatoes are special. They’re so red, so juicy,  and so meaty inside that their beauty makes me catch my breath when I cut into their flesh.  They call my name from each farmstand along the roadside  as I pass.  I always mentally count the cash in my wallet as I see a stand in the distance, wondering if I have enough handy to pay for a basketful to take home.  

My brother-in-law grows wonderful tomatoes.  Joe started growing heirlooms along with his usual hybrids a few years ago. You might remember my posting these pics of his garden tomatoes in former blog posts:

Joe’s prized tomato

Joe always sends us home with bagsful of fresh tomatoes from his beautiful garden when we visit him. I only wish we lived nearer each other  so I could enjoy the bounty more often! 

I recently found the wonderful blog of a very talented photographer, DakotaD.  He graciously allowed me to share with you this gorgeous picture he took of fresh tomatoes in his recent travels in Bologna, Italy. Trust me, go check his blog out: Dakota’s Blog  I love his photography; makes me feel like I’m traveling abroad with him! And this picture he took in a farmer’s market in Bologna is further proof that tomatoes are truly a thing of beauty: 

Those tomatoes are nearly too lovely to eat; however, were I in Bologna and found them, I think I’d find a way to do it. 

“A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.”
Laurie Colwin, ‘Home Cooking’

I want to share with you a new recipe I tried recently for a tomato pie! I had never made one before, and was intrigued to find out how it would taste.  For this recipe I used Roma tomatoes, as they are quite meaty and have lower moisture content than many others, which suits the needs of this pie perfectly. 

Fresh Tomato Pie 

from Cookstr.com’s recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 medium-size tomatoes, peeled and cut into 15 to 16 slices total  (I used 13 Romas)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 deep-dish pie crust (9 inches), thawed if frozen
  • ½ loosely packed cup chopped fresh basil
  • ½ cup chopped scallions, green parts only
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup crumbled cooked bacon (optional)

Directions

Cool: 20 Minutes

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Place the tomato slices on a baking rack placed in a sink or over a sheet pan. Lightly salt the tomato slices and let them sit until they give up some of their juice, about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prick the bottom and side of the pie crust with a fork a few times (see Note). Bake the crust until it just begins to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Let the crust cool for about 15 minutes. Leave the oven on.

4. Pat the tomato slices dry with paper towels. When the crust has cooled, arrange half of the tomato slices in the bottom. Scatter ¼ cup each of the basil and scallions over them. Add the rest of the tomato slices and top these with the remaining ¼ cup each of basil and scallions.

5. Combine the mozzarella and Cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, cayenne, and bacon, if desired, in a small bowl. Spoon the cheese mixture over the tomatoes and, using a knife, spread it out as evenly as you can.

6. Bake the tomato pie until browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Then, carefully arrange a loose tent of aluminum foil over the top of the pie to shield the crust from over browning. Continue to bake the pie until the cheese has browned and the filling has firmed up, about 15 minutes longer. Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Notes

 If you prefer a more homemade look, transfer a store bought pie crust to a glass or metal pie pan. Press the top edge down with a fork to attach the crust to the pan, then prick it with a fork and bake it.  Also, the bacon really takes the pie in a different direction; it’s a very prominent flavor. Next time I’ll do it without the bacon, I believe.
Sliced Romas draining so they won’t make the crust soggy.
Fresh basil and green onions
The delicious final product

“Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love and home grown tomatoes.”

John Denver, ‘Home Grown Tomatoes’
(from a song written by Guy Clark)

Click here to see: Guy Clark performing “Homegrown Tomatoes”….thanks Debi!    (This will take you to a video on YouTube; pretty fun!)

I feel healthier and happier just looking at all the fresh veggies in this pie.
The leftover pie was great the next morning with grits for breakfast!

Enjoy!

“In this world of uncertainty and woe, one thing remains unchanged: Fresh, canned, pureed, dried, salted, sliced, and served with sugar and cream, or pressed into juice, the tomato is reliable, friendly, and delicious. We would be nothing without it.” ~ Laurie Colwin

~from Pinterest
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8 thoughts on “What Would Life Be Without Homegrown Tomatoes? (Baked Tomato Pie)

      1. I agree! The store-bought ones in winter (really, year-round) can’t hold a candle to the beauties we can eat in the summer! Summer tomatoes deserve to be celebrated; maybe even revered… lol

  1. Such a versatile vegetable! From a simple sandwich (what can beat a bacon and tomato sandwich) to any dish there are very few that the tomato can’t add an extra side by it’s addition.

    An old lady that I used to live next to, used to grow them everywhere inside and out and she told me those she didn’t use straight away would be frozen for homemade tomato soup for the winter.

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