It’s the season for tomato pie

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It’s been eight years since I first made a tomato pie and shared my recipe here. I’m still making this seasonal dish — often at the request of my husband.

I tend to make the pie on Sunday evenings, when it’s just Reggie and me at home. We enjoy leftovers the next day.

Since I first made the pie, I’ve streamlined the process a little to make it easier to drain the excess liquid from the tomatoes. That’s reflected in the recipe.

We made a tomato pie on Sunday night and couldn’t wait to dive into it!

Here’s my column, that first ran in September 2009:

If you have a garden, odds are good that there are still a few tomatoes, at least, clinging to those fading vines. I noticed several green ones on mine this weekend and will be watching them closely because I’ve got plans for them. I’m going to make another tomato pie.

I’ve seen recipes for tomato pie before, and this summer, a number of food blogs I read mentioned various versions of both tomato pies and tomato tarts. The photos showed pies layered with tomatoes and cheese with a golden brown crust; I was intrigued. My husband and I love vine-ripened tomatoes, and we certainly love cheese, so why not give it a try?

I didn’t especially want to go by a specific recipe. Instead, I wanted to make my own. So I read recipes online and in a cookbook from my niece’s former elementary school in South Carolina, where tomato pies are apparently quite popular.

I read the dozen or so recipes and imagined how each pie would taste. I decided right away that my first tomato pie would be meatless, although some use bacon or even pepperoni.

I also decided not to use cheddar cheese, although many of the recipes I read did use cheddar. I wanted more of the pizza effect, I guess, and decided on mozzarella and Parmesan.

At first, I didn’t want to add onions to my pie, until I saw a comment with one online recipe where the cook had sauteed Vidalia onions for her recipe. That sounded delicious, so I tried it. But I opted not to use garlic. I did, however, use fresh basil from my patio plant.

I also took the advice of recipe reviewers and drained the juice from my tomatoes. I also waited to cut the pie until it had cooled for at least 15-20 minutes, based on a reviewer’s suggestion, which also helped it firm up.

Those of us at home who love tomatoes, loved this pie. We agreed it reminded us of pizza, although the crust is a pie crust. If I can get the tomatoes, I will make this recipe another time or two before the summer’s tomatoes are gone because it is truly delicious.

lisa@wilsontimes.com | 265-7810

Slice tomatoes and place on plate lined with paper towels. Add layers of paper towels between the layers of tomatoes. Blot the tomatoes often to absorb excess liquid. Replace power towels as they get saturated.

Cook pie crust for 10 minutes at temperature recommended on package. Make sure to prick the crust before baking.

While the crust is cooking, saute onions in a little olive oil.

Once crust is cooked, remove from oven (adjusting oven temperature to 375 degrees) and sprinkle a little of the Parmesan cheese on the crust. (Keep in mind that the Parmesan cheese will also be used in the pie’s layers, so don’t use too much.)

Layer tomato slices over cheese. Sprinkle salt, pepper and oregano to taste. Add a layer of basil and sauteed onions. Repeat layer, omitting basil this time.

Mix mayonnaise and mozzarella cheese and spread on top of pie. Top with remaining Parmesan.

Bake in pre-heated 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until top is lightly browned and juice is beginning to bubble through.

Let sit for about 20 minutes before cutting.

Lisa’s Tomato Pie

One frozen or refrigerated pie crust (I do not use deep dish)

3 to 4 medium, ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced

14 to 12 cup chopped Vidalia onions

Olive oil

5 or 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Salt and pepper

Dried oregano

14 cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

12 cup mayonnaise (I used reduced fat)