For my first attempt, I went with the obvious -- Paula Deen's recipe. Despite my reading scads of reviews and following the many suggestions to scale back on the mayonnaise and cheese, the tomato pie was a gloppy, goopy mess. It tasted, good mind you, but it is not a recipe I'll make again. Good Southern food does not have to be that artery-clogging.
Over the last few weeks, I've perused dozens of tomato pie recipes looking for inspiration. So many options! Pastry or corn meal crust? Sharp cheddar, Fontina, Gruyere, Parmesan, Mozzarella or goat cheese? Onion? Garlic? In the meantime, I made Tomato Basil Gratin to stave off the cravings. Ultimately, I adapted this recipe from Emeril's Cheesy Creole Tomato Pie in Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh.
- Savory pie crust (I used Pillsbury)
- 1 egg, separated
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
- 1 1/2 cups sliced leeks
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced thyme
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup goat cheese at room temperature (about 2 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons minced basil
- 3/4 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 3 ounces)
- 1/3 cup Panko (divided)
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Roll out the pie crust, drop it into a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the edges.
- Delicately, use a fork to put a few holes in the bottom of the pie crust.
- Bake the pie crust for about 10 minutes.
- Whisk the egg white, then use a pastry brush to paint the warm pie crust so that the entire crust is lightly coated. Set aside.
- Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Add the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently so that the leeks do not brown.
- Add the garlic and thyme to the skillet and continue to saute for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Sprinkle the tomatoes with the salt and pepper.
- Put the mayonnaise, egg yolk, goat cheese and basil into blender and process until smooth.
- Mix together 1 tablespoon of the Panko bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese.
- Sprinkle half of the remaining bread crumbs in the bottom of the pie crust, followed by half the leeks. Top with a layer of tomatoes. Drizzle the tomatoes with half of the mayo-goat cheese mixture and half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat, beginning with bread crumbs and ending with mozzarella cheese.
- Top the pie with the Panko-Parmesan cheese combination.
- Bake for around 40 minutes until crusty and bubbly.
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Warm savory tomato, delicate leek flavor, a bit of creamy cheese, and a crusty, salty topping -- perfect! There is absolutely nothing goopy or gloppy about this tomato pie. It would make a really lovely first course for a summer supper or brunch. I served it tonight for a light dinner with a crisp green salad on the side.
As much as I loved this tomato pie, my craving is not done with me. How does a tomato pie with a corn meal crust, garlic-basil puree and sharp cheddar cheese sound?