It’s charming and simple. It’s also really juicy and exciting. And the best bits, several slices and a handful of memories, should be shared with a close friend and several glasses of white the next day.
Call us crazy, but we think a good tomato pie is like a great first date.
Nothing’s fussy, it’s darn easy and the sum is greater than its parts. (Yes, we’re asking you to put down your lattes and read between the lines)
But back to the pie…
Some Southern tomato pies we’ve tried are just glorified caprese salads shoe-horned into a pre-fab, store-bought crust with one tablespoon too many of mayonnaise on top. Noooooo! Don’t do that to us (or yourselves). Please.
Instead, and maybe while on that second date, try our quick and crazy crust made with parmesan cheese, butter, basil and fresh breadcrumbs. Really, it’s like a big ol’ cheese straw patted down into a 9-inch pie pan… what could be better than that?
Things do get better, though, with creamy ricotta, ripe, red tomatoes and ribbons of prosciutto. It’s kind of like the traditional Dixie tomato pie had a steamy love affair with a flatbread pizza from the Amalfi Coast and this is their gorgeous offspring. Molto romantico, molto bello, molto buono.
Southern (Italian) Tomato Pie
- 2 ripe beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, finely grated with microplane or minced
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil or fresh pesto
- 1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs
- 4 oz (1/2 stick) butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
preheat oven to 350˚
Cut the tomatoes into slices, approximately 1/4 inch thick. Place the tomatoes in a bowl with the garlic, vinegar and olive oil. Mix well and leave to marinate.
To prepare the crust, combine the cheese, basil, breadcrumbs and butter in a separate bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Add the egg and continue mixer until it forms a ball.
Press the crust out into a 9 inch pie dish so it evenly coats the bottom and sides. Place the pan in the oven to bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the edges are just browned. When done baking remove from the oven to cool.
While the crust bakes, combine the ricotta, egg, parmesan, salt and olive oil in another bowl. Beat well with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Fill the cooled pie crust with the whipped ricotta mixture . Drain the tomatoes and layer them with the prosciutto in an alternating pattern on top of the cheese.
Bake the assembled pie 30 minutes more. Cool slightly before slicing.