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Tomato Pie With Pimento Cheese Topping

How to use your late summer tomatoes
Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella/food styling

This satisfying savory pie will scratch your tomato itch. Blind-baking the crust lessens its risk of becoming sodden, and starting with a bottom layer of cheese helps, too. Serve as a vegetarian main dish, or as a side dish at a cookout. Refrigerate leftovers for an enviable lunch the next day. If using a store-bought crust, roll it out a bit so that it fits the deep-dish pan.

This recipe is by Robin Mather and was originally published in The Chicago Tribune.

Ingredients

For the pie

  • 6 large tomatoes, cored, sliced vertically in 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 Teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • Pastry for one 9-inch deep-dish pie, homemade or purchased
  • 2 Cups grated American or mild cheddar cheese, divided use
  • 3/4 Cups mayonnaise
  • 3/4 Cups sliced green onion
  • 1 jar (4 ounces) pimientos, drained, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Teaspoons hot sauce, such as Tabasco, Frank’s or Cholula
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Cups grated American or mild cheddar cheese, divided use
  • 10-12 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 1 sleeve buttery crackers, such as Ritz, crumbled (25 crackers, about 1 cup crumbled), or 3/4 cup panko crumbs

Directions

For the pie

Step 1: Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Arrange 6 large sliced tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil over the tomatoes; scatter 1/2 teaspooon salt over the slices. Roast the tomatoes, on the middle shelf, until dry, 1 hour, 20 minutes. Slice one to test it; it should be dry all the way through.

Step 2: Prepare the pie shell for blind-baking. Fit the pastry into the pie dish, fluting the edges to stand up. Prick the bottom and sides of the pastry with a fork in many places. Lay a sheet of parchment paper over the pie; pour about 2 cups dry beans, rice or pie weights into it, pushing the weights around so all parts of the bottom are covered. Place the pie shell on the oven’s top shelf; bake until lightly brown, 15 to 20 minutes, or according to package directions.

Step 3: Make the topping. Combine 1 cup shredded cheese, 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 3/4 cup sliced green onion, 1 jar pimientos, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 teaspoons hot sauce and black pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

Step 4: Remove the tomatoes and the pie shell from the oven; set aside to cool, 5 to 10 minutes. Begin to fill the pie: Scatter 1 cup cheese over the bottom of the pie shell; make a layer of tomatoes. Strew about half the torn basil leaves over the tomatoes. Scatter half the crumbled crackers over the basil leaves.

Step 5: Repeat with another layer of cheese, tomatoes, basil and cracker crumbs, ending with another layer of sliced tomatoes. Spread the topping over the tomatoes; scatter black pepper over the topping.

Step 6: Bake until the crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 45 minutes. If the crust begins to brown too quickly, shield with foil crimped around the edges. Remove pie from oven; allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving.