In a twist on James Beard’s famous tomato pie, which his friend and renowned food writer Ruth Reichl has touted for decades, I used my husband’s famous buttermilk biscuit recipe for the crust. (You can always use a store-bought pie crust.) Then I included cherry tomatoes (that’s what our garden is producing by the bushel at the moment) instead of big, fat tomatoes she recommends. I mixed up various cheeses and combined basil, thyme (again, our garden is nearly overrun with these) and flat-leaf parsley with mayo for the filling.
2 to 3 cups sliced cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ cups mixture finely shredded fontina, Parmesan, Jack and Swiss cheeses
1 to ½ cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons mixture of chopped basil, thyme and flat leaf parsley, divided use
Ground black pepper to taste
Buttermilk Biscuit Crust
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter, very cold
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 to 2 tablespoons melted butter
A few teaspoons water
Cut tomatoes in half and toss with 1 teaspoon salt in a colander. Drain for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, combine cheeses, mayonnaise, half the chopped herbs and black pepper in a bowl; cover and place in refrigerator while tomatoes drain and you make the biscuit dough for crust.
Make the crust: Dust a board or other work surface with flour. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in bowl of food processor. Cut butter into small pieces and then into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal (pulse briefly a few times until this consistency is achieved). Add buttermilk and mix just until combined. Dough should be wet; if it appears to be on the dry side, mix in a bit more buttermilk. Turn dough out onto floured board. Gently pat dough out until it’s about 1/2-inch thick. Fold the dough over itself about 5 times, gently working the dough. Shape into a round and roll with a floured rolling pin to get a nice, even thickness of about ½ inch. Place in bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate. (If you have an excess, trim the dough with a sharp knife to fit the pan.) Crimp edges of crust.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk egg with water and brush crust with the egg wash. Cover crust with parchment paper and use pie weights. Bake crust for 15 minutes. Remove from oven; remove pie weights and discard parchment paper.
Spread about two-thirds of the drained tomatoes over the pie crust and top with the cheese mixture. Scatter remaining tomatoes over cheese mixture and sprinkle remaining herbs on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or till surface is bubbling (you may need to cover edges of crust with foil to prevent them from burning). Remove pie from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before cutting into slices to serve. Great with simple green salad dressed with a French vinaigrette