Southern Tomato Pie
My husband and I lived in the South when we were first married, young, dumb, broke, and in love. I’ll never forget the first time I went to the local grocery store, Winn Dixie, and Jim Bob was paged over the intercom. The accent was so thick I could hardly understand the words. I stood there in the middle of the produce section, trying to decide if I should laugh or cry.
I came home and told my husband, “I think we moved to a different country.” And we had. And we loved (almost) every minute of it.
We ate hush puppies and apple dumplings, okra, sorghum, buttermilk biscuits. We plucked a friend’s chicken and sat around the dinner table eating it an hour later. It was easy to find pork rinds, tough to find flour that wasn’t self-rising.
I never once ate a tomato pie in the South, but , compliments of Sassafras Catering and winner of the 2008 Portland Pie-Off. I love the simple steps, seasonal ingredients, and southern twist on a savory dish (think quiche – eggs). I made it three times in two weeks. Then for some dumb reason, I never made it again (I do that a lot).
Between the 50-pound bag of sweet onions in my garage and the 40-pounds of ripe tomatoes on my dining room table, this recipe popped into my head again. I dusted it off, and every bite was as good as I remembered it.
So grab some beautiful Northwest tomatoes and tuck them into a delicious Southern pie.
Southern Tomato Pie
This pie can be frozen and baked (unthawed) if you use sour cream instead of mayo. Also, I used fresh chopped basil in place of the dried herbs.
2 T. butter
1 1/2 large sweet onions, sliced in 1/4-inch rings
5 large tomatoes, cored and cut in bite-size chunks
1-2 c. shredded cheese
1/4-1/2 c. mayonnaise or sour cream
1/2 t. freshly cracked black pepper
1 10-inch pie crust
1 t. sugar
1/4 t. dried basil
1 T. dried spice mix (Italian herbs or other favorite seasoning)
- Melt butter in a skillet and add onions. Cook at medium-low for about 45 minutes until caramelized, stirring every few minutes to avoid burning.
- Meanwhile, place tomatoes in a colander and sprinkle lightly with salt; drain for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix cheese with mayonnaise or sour cream and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper and set aside.
- Line pie shell with parchment paper or foil and fill with beans or pie weights (to avoid bubbles) and bake for 15 minutes.
- Gently squeeze tomatoes to remove some of their liquid. Remove pie shell from oven and carefully remove paper or foil and pie weights. Add the tomatoes to pie shell and sprinkle with pepper, sugar and basil. Lightly combine with your fingertips.
- Spread cheese mixture atop tomatoes. Sprinkle spice mix on top of cheese. Add caramelized onions to the top of the pie in an even layer. Bake pie for 30 minutes. Cover with foil if the crust starts to brown too much.
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