In my never ending quest to use fresh local food in my recipes, I had no choice but to focus on the amazing tomatoes that the local vendors had to offer–they were everywhere at the Cape Ann Farmers Market a few weeks ago.
I wish I had brought my camera along with my camera man while taping segments for my show, Inspired Cooking, as the displays of fresh tomatoes along with the rest of the in season produce made the market especially gorgeous that week.
I have two recipes for you this week, one my own and one not. I was looking for a new way to use the tomatoes and I thought–what about a tomato pie? So I looked online and all I found was more or less quiche-y recipes (which I didn’t want) or a mayo and cheese based pie, which I didn’t want to make either. So that got me thinking. How do I like my tomatoes? I like mine sundried, roasted and fresh so why not make a pie that includes all of these preparations? So, this is what I came up with–and after sharing it with friends–the reviews are multiple thumbs up. In fact, my friend Annie said it might be been the best thing I ever made! So, here you go.
Parmesan Crusted Summer Tomato Pie
For the crust:
2 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 cup butter, frozen and cut into cubes
¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
8-10 tablespoons ice water
In the bowl of a food processor (or by hand, or with a fork, or a pastry blender) combine flour and butter until butter is incorporated and the size of small peas. Blend in cheese. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing if you are using the processor. Mix until dough forms a loose ball. Divide in half, form into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour or until ready to use. This step can be done days in advance!
For the filling:
1 to 1 ½ pints cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half along the ‘equator”
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons fresh or dried herbs, such as oregano or thyme
2 pounds large tomatoes
1 tablespoon tapioca
1/3 cup prepared basil pesto
½ pound soft cheese, such as fresh mozzarella or goat cheese, sliced
½ cup julienne sundried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 egg, beaten
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Toss cut tomatoes with olive oil, herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour until wrinkled, lightly browned and caramelized. Set aside to cool (this step can be done well in advance as well)
When ready to bake, increase oven temperature to 375. Move oven rack to the second to bottom setting and place a stoneware baking stone on the rack (if available)
Slice tomatoes into ¼ slices and lay flat on a kitchen towel to remove some of the moisture. Lay another towel on top and press down lightly. Set aside.
Roll out one crust and fit into pie plate. Sprinkle tapioca on to the bottom of the crust and top with julienne sundried tomatoes. Place a layer of fresh tomatoes over sundried and spread on pesto. Top pesto with cheese and then another layer of sliced tomatoes.
Roll out remaining crust and cut into strips. Make a lattice (woven) crust for the top or a traditional flat top crust with lots of vent holes to allow the steam to escape. Brush top crust with beaten egg and sprinkle on freshly ground black pepper.
Bake in preheated oven on the pizza stone for 45 minutes uncovered. Cover top lightly with aluminum foil if over browning and cook for 5-10 more minutes until bottom crust is browned.
Allow to cook on a baking rack for 10 minutes before serving. Can be served hot or cold.
The second recipe is below. My new friend Peg and her little helper were making a panzanella salad. Panzanella is a bread and tomato based salad that is perfect for using the bounty of your garden this time of year as it really is a free form dish. As long as you use tomatoes and bread you can dress it any way you like and add any other fresh veggies that please you and your family. Here is a generic panzanella recipe for you to try from Epicurious.com.
- 3/4 pound day-old crusty peasant-style whole-grain bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
- 2 large tomatoes (about 1 pound), trimmed and each cut into 8 wedges
- 3/4 cup sliced unwaxed cucumber
- 1/2 cup sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 10 fresh basil leaves, shredded
In a serving bowl stir together the bread, the tomatoes, the cucumber, the onion, the oil, the vinegar, the basil, and salt and pepper to taste until the salad is combined well.