Someone at work gave me a bag full of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from her garden. They were ripe, firm, and delicious. Is it any wonder that the French have referred to tomatoes as “pommes d’amour“ or love apples?
Actually, up until about the end of the 18th century, people believed tomatoes were poisonous. It wasn’t until 1808 that a Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson of Salem, New Jersey proved everyone wrong. The story goes that he stood on the steps of the Salem courthouse and ate a whole basket of tomatoes in front of a crowd of people who were convinced he was trying to commit suicide in public. When he didn’t die or even get sick, people changed their minds about the lowly tomato. So let’s hear it for Colonel Johnson! Without him, we may never have had delicious dishes like this Tomato Pie.
This dish is a yummy, Southern favorite. If you want, you could cut down the fat by using reduced-fat mayonnaise and reduced-fat cheese, or you could try lessening the topping to 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese. It’s less rich, but still delicious. Ask my daughter, Yissi. She loves Tomato Pie!
- 1 single pie crust (can use ready-made refrigerated crust)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, optional
- 4 medium tomatoes, thickly sliced
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves (or 1 tsp. dried)
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced (or 1/4 small yellow onion, diced)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- salt and pepper
- Place tomatoes in a colander, toss with about 1/2 tsp. salt and allow to drain for 20 minutes or so.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Pre-bake pie crust until light brown, remove from oven and lower oven temperature to 350°F.
- If using, sprinkle bottom of crust with parmesan cheese.
- Lightly pat the tomato slices dry with a paper towel and layer them over the parmesan cheese in the crust.
- Top with basil and green onion.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and mozzarella.
- Dollop mayonnaise mixture on top of tomatoes and smooth to edges of crust.
- Bake 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
- Cut into wedges and serve warm.
NOTE: If you want your pie to be juicy, omit Step 1 and just use your tomatoes as is.