Ah, the Tomato Pie—a Pittsburgh staple that elevates the humble tomato into a gastronomic spectacle. But my friends, this isn’t just about throwing tomatoes into a pie crust. It’s an opera in which each ingredient plays a pivotal role. The tomatoes are the star divas, the herbs are the supporting cast, and the crust is the grand stage. So, don your aprons; it’s time to conduct this culinary symphony.
The Protagonists and Supporting Cast
- 3 pounds of varied medium to large tomatoes, singing in soprano
- 1 pre-baked artisanal pie crust, the grand stage
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, sprinkled with love
- ½ cup bacon, crumbled to perfection
- 2 large shallots, finely chopped and sautéed until melodious
- 2 garlic cloves, minced for harmony
- 6 ounces of sharp Cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1½ cups)
- ½ cup of quality mayonnaise (Dukes, if you’re a purist)
- ½ cup fresh basil, chopped with zeal
- ¼ cup chives, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, for that touch of drama
- 1 large egg, the binding agent
The Grand Performance
- Preliminary Measures: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Slice your tomatoes into ½-inch discs. Take seven or eight “diva” slices, place them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels, and salt them lightly with ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt. Cover with another layer of paper towels and set aside—these will be the stars of your finale.
- The Chorus: Lay the remaining tomato slices on a wire rack over a large baking sheet. Lightly salt with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Roast these in your preheated oven for about 40 to 45 minutes until they’re wilted but poetic. Allow them to cool, contemplating their impending glory.
- The Conductor’s Mix: In a bowl fit for a maestro, combine your sharp Cheddar, quality mayonnaise, freshly-chopped basil, and chives. Add the Dijon mustard and your egg. Season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and as much pepper as your heart desires. Now, introduce the sautéed shallots and crumbled bacon into this rich ensemble.
- The First Act: On your pre-baked artisanal pie crust, spread one-third of your cheese mixture as the base. Layer half of your roasted tomatoes, slightly overlapping, to create a visually stunning scene.
- The Second Act: Lay another third of your cheese mixture over the tomatoes, setting the stage for the remaining roasted tomatoes to join the act.
- The Grand Finale: Place your reserved fresh tomato slices on top, pressing them gently into the performance. Protect the edges of your pie with aluminum foil like a shield guarding a treasure.
- Curtains: Bake in your preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes until the filling reaches a climactic solidity. Then, transfer the pie to a wire rack and let it sit for an hour, as it contemplates its own brilliance.
And there you have it, a Tomato Pie that’s not just food, but a culinary performance where every ingredient is a star. Enjoy this Pittsburgh culinary masterpiece; it’s worthy of a standing ovation.
For more gastronomic compositions, stay tuned.