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With just a couple of weeks left of summer, we’re cramming as many sun-ripened tomatoes into our mouths as possible. We’ve made salads and relish, and even tarte tatin, but we’ve discovered one of the most efficient tomato-to-fork ratios comes in the form of pie, specifically, Nonnie’s Tomato Pie.
Longtime contributor Steven Dunn (Oui, Chef) learned the recipe for this tomato-extravaganza from his mother. “I have to say, there are few better uses for the abundance of farm-fresh tomatoes that we have in late summer, than to make this delicious treat,” he writes.
As a kid, Dunn and his brother's first job was to run a road-side farm stand in their tiny Vermont town. They picked produce to order as patrons pulled up in their cars, and kept a salt shaker handy for gorgeous-looking tomatoes that begged to be eaten right then and there. At the end of the day, they gathered any leftover produce and took it home as part of their compensation. "The prettiest tomatoes were normally reserved for caprese salads, but the oddly shaped ones would almost always find their way into a tomato pie," he says. "Slicing, big juicy tomatoes for these pies was the launching point of my developing kitchen knife skills, and showed me the importance of working with a sharp one."
But he wasn’t always a fan. “I wish my mom had taken a picture of my face, when as a child, she first told me that she was cooking a tomato pie,” he says. “I bet it was a gaze that combined shock, horror, and the kind of look you get when you're feeling nauseous, and your mom is chasing you around the house with a bottle of cod liver oil. Tomato in a pie? Pies are for apples, and pumpkin, and mincemeat—stop talking crazy, woman!”
Our testers thought it was a different kind of crazy: crazy delicious. “This is not a dish for the faint-of-tomato-heart,” our editors say. “If you like just a few cubes of tomato scattered about a salad, or a thin slice on a sandwich, this is more tomato than you can handle.”
The pie combines the brightness of juicy tomatoes with a rich mayo-cheese topping, and crunch of bacon and onions. But those who skip salting and draining their tomatoes, do so at their own peril, Dunn warns. "I know a few that tried to speed things along only to regret it when the pie turned out under seasoned and soggy." He also recommends a light sprinkling of freshly minced oregano, or basil chiffonade to finish things off.
So, for those of us who aren’t ready for summer to end, let’s squeeze in a little more tomato love with pie.
- 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons AP flour
- 1 cup plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small cubes
- 2/3 cup water, very cold
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the pie filling
- 4-5 large, ripe tomatoes, sliced and blotted dry
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup shredded, sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 large, sweet onion, sauteed
- 1/2 pound thick cut bacon, cut into lardons, and cooked till crisp
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano