Sunday, March 23, 2008

Joey's Fresh Tomato Pie

   This recipe started out as a recipe from Paula Deen. I saw it many years ago and thought it would be a great addition to my family's Easter Brunch menu.  I made it and it was a HUGE hit. Actually, the first year I made it, I thought, "well, I'll just see if anyone likes it." It was gone in a matter of minutes and everyone said 'You only made ONE? What were you thinking??" LOL So now I make TWO of them every year for our Brunch. Love it. 
But here's the thing.. over the years, I've sort of tweaked the recipe a little bit here and there, so it's still basically the same, but now I've rewritten it below to include a few of my tweaks. I think this year's brunch was the best ever!
 The biggest problem I found was that the fresh tomatoes were too juicy. All that extra moisture just made a soggy pie. No matter what I did, I couldn't find the right solution. Even though the original recipe said to salt them and let them drain for ten minutes. I would let them drain for an hour or longer.. Still too soggy. I diced them instead of sliced them. Still too soggy. So then I decided to try and thicken it a little. I added a sprinkle of flour. Hmmm... better, but not the answer. Still too soggy. 
  Then it finally came to me. This year, I decided to ROAST the tomatoes first. Boom! This was the ah ha moment! Not only would it greatly reduce the amount of moisture, but it would also concentrate the tomato flavor. WIN WIN!  Now I think this recipe is where it needed to be! Sometimes I think it's good to revisit a recipe now and then and tweak it to suit our everchanging tastes, dontcha think?

4 or 5 medium tomatoes 
a few tbs of oil
salt and pepper
pinch or two of sugar
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped 
3 scallions, chopped 
2 tbs flour
1 (9-inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell
1 cup grated mozzarella 
1 cup grated cheddar 
1/2 cup mayonnaise 

Heat oven to 350ºF.
Slice each tomato horizontally into 4 or 5 thick slices. In other words, if the tomato is standing with the stem end on top, slice it sideways. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with a little oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sugar. Roast in the oven until most of the liquid has evaporated and tomatoes are soft. Scoop them off the tray to a cutting board, and roughly chop them. Add them to a mixing bowl with your chopped scallions, basil, and 2 tbs flour. Gently toss to combine. Place your tomato mixture in your previously blind baked pie crust. Using the same mixing bowl, stir together the cheeses and mayo. (I find it's easier to do this with my hands, not unlike one mixes ground beef).
 Spread your cheese mixture over your tomato mixture. Bake in oven for about 45 minutes or until the cheese and started to brown on top. Let it cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The last time I made this, I didn't have time to blind bake the crust, so I just cranked the heat up and baked the whole thing at 400º. That helps to cook the crust before the filling! 
BTW, even though I changed Paula's recipe, I still kept her picture. 
Why? because it's nice and I like it!


Anonymous said...

Hey Joey! Just wanted to tell you that I made the tomatoe pie this week and it was a huge hit! Even Courtney who doesn't like tomatoes had three pieces. Also the tip on peeling the tomatoes was awesome. I had fun doing it. Thanks also for mentioning me in your blog. I feel so special. I'm going to be a regular on your site. See you at the Pathmark! Love, KQ

Michael said...

Joey -- Yep, this is a great one. Jeanette made it to bring to an Easter dinner gathering we had with 3 other families. Everyone brought something, a regular pot-luck affair, too much food to go around.

The only thing that got finished? The Tomato Pie.


Anonymous said...

This is a family favorite, but I think it tastes even better if you use only half (thus 1/2 cup) of the mayonaisse. You can slightly adjust the cheese amount as well (to about 3/4 c of each type) to give the right ratio. Not only does it let more of the cheese, tomato, herb taste shine through over the mayo, it also lightens the calorie load a bit (although this is no low-cal dish!)