Our Most Popular Tomato Recipe of All Time

It’s a Southern classic.

<p>Simply Recipes / Getty Images </p>

Simply Recipes / Getty Images

I’m from Ohio, and in the national consciousness, we’re not known for having the best tomatoes on the planet. We do, though. It’s fine if you disagree with me because it doesn’t change the truth.

Ohio-grown tomatoes are so good, in fact, that between June and September I only eat homegrown ones. Every summer with those glorious tomatoes I ritualistically make Elise Bauer’s version of tomato pie, one of the crown jewels of Simply Recipes. I’m not the only one, either—it’s the most popular tomato recipe on the site.

A Southern Classic

Tomato pie itself is a Southern thing, though readers all over the world often experience it for the first time by making this recipe. The reaction overwhelmingly tends to echo this reader comment from Rebecca: “I LOVED this recipe. It was my first time making--or eating--tomato pie but won't be the last.”

Southern tomato pie has nothing to do with pizza. It’s a savory deep-dish pie with a pastry crust and layers of ripe tomato topped with a mixture of mayonnaise and cheese. Herbs, onions, and cooked bacon often make an appearance (yes, it’s quite rich). Tomato pie is as good at room temperature as it is hot, making it perfect for potlucks.

After baking, it’s aromatic and enticing. After slicing, though, it’s a gushy, soppy mess. I always thought the soupy factor was the unresolvable drawback of a good tomato pie, but I was wrong.

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

Fixing the Runniness Factor

Elise, the founder of Simply Recipes, is from California, so I asked her how she encountered tomato pie.

She said she first tasted it while dining at a friend’s house while on vacation in Massachusetts. Her friend had a party and invited lots of locals to bring dishes in what Elise calls “impress the food blogger day.” One guest, Diane Connolly, brought tomato pie. “Seconds after taking a bite I was begging for the recipe,” Elise recalls. Soon after, she posted it on Simply Recipes.

It was a hit, but the runniness of the pie was a point of contention for readers, as well as Elise and her family. (You can see the original here.) So Elise went back to the drawing board, adding two crucial steps that make all of the difference.

What Makes This the Best Tomato Pie?

Elise’s tomato pie innovations are real game-changers. With them, instead of tomato pie being a delicious hot mess, it’s simply a delicious masterpiece.

  • Dicing the tomatoes instead of slicing them ensures that the long strips of tomato skin don’t bungle cutting the pie and removing pieces intact. I’ve had so many past issues with tomato slippage when serving tomato pie, but no longer!

  • Squeezing, salting, and draining the tomatoes draws out enough juices to keep the pie from getting runny. There’s still a ton of flavor and no swampy runoff all over your plate. I save the savory salted tomato juices to add to soups or pasta sauces (when I recently made my first tomato pie of the season, I got about a cup and a half of juice!).

  • Blind baking the crust once again prevents a soggy pie. That’s not a step in my family’s tomato pie recipe from our South Carolina vacations, and those pies were always doughy-bottomed.

  • Adding herbs (basil, specifically) really amps up the tomatoes’ freshness and helps cut through the fatty mayo-cheese topping.

The drawback of tomato pie is that it’s kind of a pain in the butt to make. So I only do it once or twice a summer, usually when I’m entertaining or invited to a gathering. Now you can continue this tomato pie’s legacy: from South Carolina to Massachusetts to California to Ohio, and now to wherever you may be. Try it with your best local tomatoes this summer and I promise you’ll be a convert, too.

Get Recipe with Title: Best Tomato Pie

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.