I wrote this wintering in South Carolina, but if you go to Whole Foods in Union Square, you can probably still find some good tomatoes for a ransom. This really should be a mid summer recipe, but there are times when nothing tastes as good as this tomato pie and if you can find the tomatoes, it brings summer right to your plate. It is quite different from any tomato pie I have ever tasted. It is less of a pie and more of a juicy tomato casserole really. The key, and I really mean the KEY is beautiful juicy ripe red tomatoes. They can be any kind of tomato, but they have to be deeply red and ripe. Fortunately the folks at the Stono Farm Market Tomato Shed Cafe have access to the Ambrose Farm hoop house tomatoes, including some incredible heirloom tomatoes and some juicy red orbs of cherry tomatoes, even in February, which in the Low Country is not really all that cold. I agree, that tomatoes are best in July and August, no matter where you live, sun ripened tomatoes grown in soil are the best. South Carolina grows some delicious ones in her sandy loam. I have had this dish at the Tomato Shed Cafe many times, and have made it a few times for company with rave reviews. The best thing is that it is EASY!
Here is the Ambrose family’s recipe:
Makes 8 servings
6 large ripe tomatoes or 2 # of good ripe cherry tomatoes
1 yellow onion thinly sliced
fresh chives, chopped
Salt and Pepper
1 cup of Duke’s Mayonnaise
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
Biscuit dough, rolled thin and baked till golden (you can do this ahead in batches and freeze)
Place pieces of baked thin pieces of biscuit dough around the bottom of a pan, it can be a square 9 X 9 pan, a pie pan or a cake pan.
Slice the tomatoes in to 1/2 inch thick slices and salt, let sit for a few minutes, then fill the pan with several layers of tomatoes, salting and peppering and adding basil and chives on each layer. Add a layer of thinly sliced onions (you could insert garlic here too). I added some sweet onion sugar at this point, but if you do not have it, you can skip that. You can “fancify” it too by using smoked salt. I did.
Mix the mayo and cheese and top the pie.
Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. I promise you, this is delicious! I have never had a tomato pie this good, or so easy to make.