After living in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than six years, summer to me means cool, foggy weather. The onset of our Bay Area summer translates into a lot of sun seeking day trips to escape the blanket of Karl the Fog that envelopes the bay. Yes, our fog has a name, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
I take solace in the fact that the rest of sunny California produces amazing summer vegetables that are easily accessible at farmers’ markets around the Bay Area. Tomatoes, which I snubbed as a child, are now a summertime favorite. This savory tomato pie recipe is a summer staple for me and makes great leftovers. For those of you who live in places where it’s hot, I apologize that you have to turn on the oven for this one. For those of us in the Bay Area, turning on the oven is a welcome summertime activity.
My kitchen notes:
If you’re not into making your own dough, Trader Joe’s has a good pie crust in the frozen section.
Make sure to buy ripe, in season tomatoes!
Tomato and Cheddar Pie – adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup buttermilk
2 pounds large ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4″ slices
2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup mayonaise
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons cornmeal
1. For the crust, whisk the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in butter until coarse meal forms and some small lumps remain. Stir in buttermilk and knead gently with your hands until dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic and chill for 1 hour.
2. For the filling, lay tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with 2 layers of paper towels on top of the tomatoes. Let stand for 30 minutes, then drain.
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out dough between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap to form an 11 inch round. Place dough into 9 inch glass or ceramic pie dish.
4. Toss both cheeses into a medium bowl until incorporated. Reserve 1/4 cup of cheese mixture. Whisk green onion, mayonnaise, dill, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
5. Sprinkle cornmeal evenly over bottom of crust, then top with 1/2 cup of cheese mixture. Arrange 1/3 of the tomatoes over the cheese, overlapping as needed. Spread half of the mayonnaise mixture over the tomatoes. Repeat, layering with cheese, 1/2 of remaining tomato slices and remaining mayonnaise mixture. Sprinkle remaining cheese mixture then remaining tomatoes. Sprinkle with the reserved 1/4 cup cheese mixture.
6. Fold overhanging crust up over the edges of the tomato slices.
7. Bake pie until crust and cheese is golden, about 35-40 minutes. If crust is getting too dark, put foil over the pie halfway through the cooking time so it doesn’t burn.
8. Let pie cool at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. Makes excellent leftovers, as the pie’s flavor gets even better as it cools.