How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tomato Pie

When I was a kid I liked to watch reruns of Gomer Pyle: USMC. I remember one episode ("The Price of Tomatoes") in which a tomato farmer comes under fire for growing his crop on Camp Henderson property. The issue is resolved with the base agreeing to use much of the farmer's bounty in its mess hall. Sargent Carter (Frank Sutton) is less than thrilled with this arrangement. This is evident as he recites a list to Corporal Boyle (Roy Stuart) of all the tomato-based recipes to which they will now be subjected. The list ends with Carter saying "and get this...tomato pie"!

I understood where Sgt. Carter was coming from. I, myself, used to truly hate tomatoes, even the thought of eating one could make me gag. And I could not for the life of me understand where anyone could even come up with anything so unappetizing as a tomato pie! Who even ever heard of such a thing?

Sometime during my twenties I started liking tomatoes, to the point that they are, in fact, now one of my favorite foods. So, imagine my delight at finding a recipe for the legendary tomato pie in one of our relatively recent acquisitions - The Beach House Cookbook.  

The recipe calls for a prepared pie crust. Bah! It really isn't hard to make a pie crust. I don't know why people insist on buying them. I used this recipe for Buttermilk Pie Crust to make my own. It is important to note that you do not necessarily need buttermilk to make a pie crust. I used this recipe only because we already had some buttermilk on hand. I brushed some habañero mustard onto the crust once it was in the pan and baked for 10 minutes at 350.

For the filling we started with some big, juicy heirloom tomatoes from the Fairhaven (Massachusetts) Farmer's Market. I made thin slices, sprinkled them with garlic salt, and set them on some paper towels while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.

I next mixed 1/2 c. of mayonnaise, 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, and a few dashes of pepper. I also cooked six slices of thick bacon to perfect crispiness. Finally I mixed 1/2 c. cheddar cheese with 1/2 c. feta (this was a slight deviation from the recipe as written).

Once all the ingredients were ready one layer of tomatoes went onto the bottom of the pie crust with three crumbled bacon slices on top. The mayonnaise/Parmesan mixture went in next, followed by another layer of tomatoes and the rest of the crumbled bacon. The cheddar/feta mixture went on top, and then the final layer of tomatoes. I also sprinkled on some fresh basil leaves. Once this was prepared the pie went into the oven for 30 minutes at 350, then we let it stand for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. As good as this was when I made it on Monday, the leftovers we had for lunch today (reheated in our indispensable cast iron skillet) were sublime.

(See James' most recent post for another yummy recipe from The Beach House Cookbook).

Mmmm...Tomato Pie


  1. Dear James... I am still doing the chicken this weekend, however you lost David at garlic salt (why something synthetic instead of the bulb?) And me at mayonnaise. Why mayo? I am willing to possibly be converted but I question why not real garlic to walk with the lovely tomatoes and perhaps ricotta instead of mayo?
    Your humble follower

  2. The recipe only called for salt, I used the garlic salt for a bit more flavor. I used mayo simply because I was following the recipe. Ricotta is a good idea. I may try it next time.