Does your dad send you articles? My dad has been sending me articles ever since I left home. At this point the envelopes from him with the carefully folded newspaper clippings and scanned magazine articles are some of the only snail mail I get. Usually it’s fatherly advice stuff like ‘the 10 habits of financially secure people’ or a list of the safest cities in America…sometimes it’s cautionary stuff like how my cell phone might explode in my ear type of thing — he usually circles the title of those to make sure I get the point — but lately he’s gotten into sending me recipes, and I love it. I adapted this Southern Tomato Pie with Fried Onions from his latest.
This pie is based on the classic Southern dish where thickly sliced ripe tomatoes are set into a single pie crust, covered in a slurry of mayo and grated cheese, and then baked into a bubbling cauldron of pure comfort. The recipe my dad sent was topped with a can of fried onions…I took it a step further and made my own Vidalia onion strings. Not much extra trouble and well worth it.
I collected a mixed group of heirloom tomatoes for a colorful change from plain reds.
Allowing time for the sliced tomatoes to drain is key — tomatoes contain a tremendous amount of moisture, and you’ll want to get rid of at least some of it before you add them or you’ll wind up with tomato soup instead of pie!
I lined a 10-inch tart pan (the kind with the removable bottom) with a ready made pie crust for convenience. In first go the paper thin slices of raw Vidalia onion, (use that mandolin slicer!) and then the tomatoes on top.
It all gets topped off with a cheesy mayo mixture. It doesn’t look like much in the raw state, but it’s really scrumptious after it has baked. Kind of like your favorite hot cheesy dip. The recipe calls for a good amount of fresh dill to be blended in with the topping and although I forgot to pick some up, I recommend you add it. I used assorted herbs instead.
- I un-baked pie crust
- 3-4 ripe heirloom tomatoes (or regular red tomatoes) cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slices
- 1/2 Vidalia onion, peeled and sliced very thinly, 1/8 inch
- 1 tsp salt (fro draining the tomatoes)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/2 Vidalia onion sliced in 1/8 inch slices (use a mandolin slicer)
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 tsp salt
- vegetable oil for frying
- Put the tomato slices in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Set aside to drain for 30 minutes. Blot the surface well with paper towels afterwards.
- For the fried onion strings, whisk together the flour, cornmeal and salt in a shallow bowl.
- Heat several inches of vegetable oil in a pot to about 340F.
- Cut the onion slices in half and then toss them in the flour mixture. Work in batches.
- When the oil is hot, drop a handful of the onions in and fry until golden and crisp. This should take 2 minutes or so. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
- Mix the mayo with the shredded cheese, and stir in the dill. Set aside.
- Set the oven to 350 and line a 10 inch tart pan with a ready made crust. You can use a regular pie plate for this, too, but you may need to adjust the amount of tomatoes you put in. Prick the crust all over with a fork and bake for 10 minutes.
- Cut the raw onion slices in half and scatter across the bottom of the crust. Layer the tomatoes over them. Season everything with black pepper and a touch of salt.
- Spoon the cheese mixture over the tomatoes and spread to cover. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is starting to turn golden and bubbling.
- Scatter the fried onions over the top of the pie and let cool for a bit before trying to slice. Serve warm.
recipe adapted from Our State magazine
- Drain drain drain! The more moisture you get out of tomatoes ahead of time, the less soggy your pie will be.
- This is a delicious pie, but I don’t recommend it for a dinner party. It does not cut ‘cleanly’ and it is more of a family dinner type of thing.
As you might expect, the delicate fried Vidalias add that extra special touch.
Thanks for the inspiration Dad! Even though sending articles through the mail is definitely a dying art, I do carry on the tradition virtually. I just sent my oldest a link to ’18 Unbearably Cute Baby Animals Yawning’…I’m sure she loved it ;)