Tomato Pie: A Capstone To This Year's Eat Local Challenge

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Back in early August, I was dreaming of tomatoes and created a list of the recipes  that I wanted to make or try before season’s end. With the exception of the Green & Yellow Tomato Sauce, I made it through each tasty bite on the list!! I hope to be able to cross the last recipe off the list soon, when I make the sauce with Green Zebras, a delicious tomato with a slight citrusy tang. We didn’t grow them this year, but I was so excited when I found them at the Farmer’s Market earlier this week.

While I enjoyed the Heirloom Tomato Pie recipe I found in my Food Network Magazine, it wasn’t quite the taste I was seeking. The mayonnaise and cheese made it a bit too creamy for my tastes. I wanted more of a sweet baked taste and daydreamed of a pie featuring roasted tomatoes and caramelized onions, bringing out the sweetness in both.

The result was my very own tomato pie. I’m not biased or anything, but I’d have to say the combination is pretty spot on to what I was craving. Both my taste-buds and stomach were in agreement. I used a variety of tomatoes to add more color to the pie, but use whatever local tomatoes you have available. The leftovers also made for a great lunch. The trick was having some left to save…most everyone ate several servings. Skoogie even learned a hot cooking buzz word, DECONSTRUCTED tomato pie. She liked hers with the roasted tomatoes and cornmeal crust both on the side. Whatever works!

Tomato Pie

Roasted Tomatoes

Place 2 ½ pounds of ½ inch thick sliced tomatoes on a roasting pan or glass pyrex. Drizzle on approximately 3 T oil, 1 t salt and ¼ t pepper. Roast at 200 degrees on several baking sheets, stirring occasionally. Cook at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours (the longer they roast, the sweeter they become).

The roasted tomatoes can be made ahead and refrigerated for several days.

Other Ingredients:

1 c All-Purpose Flour

3/4 c Yellow Cornmeal

3/4 t Salt

1 stick Cold Local Unsalted Butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

4 - 5 T Iced Water

3 T Local Cheddar Cheese, shredded

1 T Olive Oil

3-4 c Thinly Sliced Local Onion

¼ c Half-and-Half (local)

½ t Salt

¼ t Black Pepper

1 1/2 T Chopped, Fresh Thyme

Make the crust:

Pulse the flour, cornmeal and salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and 3 tablespoons cheese; pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Drizzle in 4 tablespoons ice water and pulse until the dough comes together; add 1 more tablespoon ice water if necessary. Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, forming a ball. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.

Place dough on Silpat or parchment paper and roll into a 13-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate. Fold the overhang under itself and crimp the edges. Pierce the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the crust with foil and fill with dried beans. Bake 15 minutes (firm to touch). Remove the foil and beans and then add the filling.

Make the Filling: (can be made while dough is chilling in refrigerator)

Heat olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add 1/8 c of the half and half and cook down liquid. Remove from heat, stir in the remaining half-and-half, salt, pepper and almost all of the thyme, saving a little to sprinkle on the top of the pie. Place ½ of roasted tomatoes at the bottom of the pie crust and then pour the onion mixture on top, followed by the remaining tomatoes and then sprinkle remaining thyme on pie. Cook for approximately 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden.

The pie represents a celebration of this growing season and our Eat Local experience. While both are coming to a close, we continue to find ways to expand and extend the journey. Just the other day the kids helped Pete assemble a greenhouse that we hope will allow us to continue enjoying lettuce, kale and other greens throughout the winter. Our winter share from the Food Farm will begin in November. In the mean time we will continue to seek out local ingredients as much as possible. We are eating what Michael Pollen has coined, “Food—made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature.”

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