I have a confession to make.
The kids barely had anything to do with the making of this pie.
There, I said it….I’m such a bad, wicked, naughty boy…..will you ever forgive me?
We had every intention of conforming to the rules of our “Oui, Chef” work, and have Grid help me make the pie, but a cross-country track meet (his team won, YEAH) got in the way. This happens to us occasionally, and when it does, we generally pass over the dish for inclusion in the blog so that we stay true to the spirit of our work here. Not that you’d ever really know, but we feel a responsibility to post only dishes that we actually made together, as we stand on our soap box and encourage you all to do the same. But as Tom Cruise said in Risky Business, “sometimes you just gotta say, what the #@*?”, and break the rules a little bit, or as is the case here, bend them a whole lot. I say bend them because Boris did help me to make the pie dough for this recipe, but beyond that, I was flying solo.
We decided to run with this post anyway, not just because it is a really fabulous recipe, which it is, but because tomato season is fast coming to a close here in the Northeast, and we want our local readers to have a chance to make this dish with perfectly ripe local tomatoes while they still can.
My mom has been making this pie for years, and I have to say, there are few better uses for the abundance of farm fresh tomatoes we enjoy this time of year, than to make this delicious treat. That said, I wish my mom had taken a picture of my face, when as a child, she first told me that she was cooking a tomato pie. I bet it was a gaze that combined shock, horror, and the kind of look you get when you’re feeling nauseous, and your mom is chasing you around the house with a bottle of cod liver oil. Tomato in a pie? Pies are for apples, and pumpkin, and mincemeat…… stop talking crazy, woman!
When I started writing this blog, I began compiling a list of recipes that resided somewhere in my network of family and friends, and that I knew I wanted to share with the kids, and you all (or y’all if you’re visiting us from down south). This tomato pie recipe was at the top of the list. I have taken a few liberties to make it a little bit more my own, and I would encourage you all to do the same. Use this recipe as a starting point and have some fun with it…..go ahead, live a little.
You certainly can make this pie with a store bought crust, and if you have access to a good quality one, by all means use it. Boris and I decided to make our crust from scratch, primarily because it gave him another opportunity to play with the food processor, and I’m all about bringing a little joy into the lives of my children. My other changes to mom’s recipe are the inclusion of some applewood smoked bacon, and the sauteing of the onions prior to baking the pie. The pie IS fabulous as my mom makes it, but I really did like the smokiness imparted by the bacon, and the caramelized sweetness of the cooked onion. The recipe below is my mom’s, with my changes shown in parentheses. Thanks for sharing, mom!
- 9-10 inch store bough pie shell, blind baked per the maker's instructions
- 4-5 large, ripe tomatoes, sliced and blotted dry
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 large, sweet onion (sauteed)
- 1/2 pound thick cut bacon, cut into lardons, and cooked till crisp
- Blind bake the store bought pie shell, or make and blind bake one from scratch, let cool. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F Slice the tomatoes and place them on a large cooling rack covered with paper towels. VERY lightly sprinkle the slices with kosher salt to help pull moisture from them, and cover them with another layer of paper towels. Let them sit like this for at least an hour.
- Finely mince the onion, and reserve (if using raw), or saute till golden brown in a little olive oil and butter if desired Cook bacon lardons (if using) till crisp, and let drain on a paper towel. Mix mayonnaise, grated cheese and oregano in a bowl and set aside.
- Assemble the pie by layering tomato slices to fill the shell, generously cover the top with freshly ground black pepper, sprinkle with the onions and bacon, and finally, top with the mayo-cheese mix. Place the pie in the oven and bake for about 1/2 hour, or until the top is nicely browned and the pie is bubbling.
- Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool for at least 1/2 hour before cutting and serving.