Give us all the tomatoes! The red ones, purple ones, greens, yellows. The perfect and the bruised. There is something to do with each variation. The wait for tomato season seems to take forever, but that first bite of a ripe, summer tomato sandwich is well worth the wait.
My husband has memory after memory of the many cases of “seconds” heirlooms he has carried from the Boulder Farmers Market and random farms across the county. Tomato juice dripping down his arms, loading them up on his bike to ride back to our commissary kitchen.
Tomato sauce, bloody mary mix, tomato soup, tomato sandwiches, preserved tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, and dried tomatoes. My favorite, however, is the classic tomato pie. There are many variations depending where you live, but this one came from Stephanie, and it is brilliant. The recipe is ridiculously easy and the perfect way to showcase the gorgeous tomatoes found this time of year. I must admit that I am super jealous of the tomatoes Stephanie has available to her in France. Gorgeous, ripe and the most beautiful varieties are found daily. I try to save tomato pie for the summer months in the US, as this is when tomatoes are at their best.
Before we dig into the recipe, let’s take a pause. Yes, this recipe is quick, easy to gather ingredients for and can be thrown together in about 15 minutes if you use a store-bought dough. But I will say this, if you are someone who does not really enjoy cooking, give this recipe an extra five minutes and slow down. Take the extra minute and effort to purposefully slice and gently lay out the tomatoes when building your pie. You’ll be happy you did so and proud of the finished product.
This recipe uses burrata cheese. Burrata is an Italian cow milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer casing is solid cheese, while the inside contains stracciatella and cream, giving it a gorgeous soft texture. Feel free to use mozzarella, goat, or another full fat cheese or vegan cheese if you would like. Stephanie and I both prefer the burrata, as there is truly nothing like it.
The mustard in this recipe provides a bit of a kick, which I think is a great way to help bring out that fresh tomato taste. I prefer whole grain mustard as it delivers a tiny punch, without consuming and taking over. Dijon is also a solid option but be sure to spread thin and even.
Basil and tomatoes are like peas and carrots, that is no secret. However, we cannot recommend enough that using fresh basil is the way to go. If you do not have fresh basil, but have dried, we say skip the basil.
This recipe also calls for puff pastry. We are so fortunate these days to be able to find frozen puff pastry in most freezer sections of the grocery store. If you cannot find puff, go with pie dough. You can make your own crust, but this shortcut makes this tomato pie an easy weekday staple, and, to be honest, tastes better.
A good, quality olive oil, cracked black pepper and salt tie it all together like a perfect bow. Serve the pie with a salad of local greens and you won’t be sorry.
Finally, this pie is amazing for breakfast the next morning with the addition of an egg or two.
- Tomato Tart
- 3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 2-3 T whole grain mustard
- 1 sheet puff pastry (all butter)
- 2 T olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- 2-3 oz burrata cheese
- Fresh basil, sliced
Slice tomatoes and set aside. Unroll just thawed puff pastry and arrange on your baking sheet. Spread 2-3 T of fresh mustard over the base. Arrange tomatoes on top and place burrata cheese in small chunks alongside the tomatoes. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle salt on top. Bake for 15-20 min at 350F, or until puff pastry is slightly browned. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with basil. Allow too cool before slicing.
We’d be remiss not to mention the nutritional benefits of tomatoes here, as they are abundantly full of good stuff. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is a carotenoid that gives them their red color. Lycopene has been shown in some clinical trials to be related to a reduced risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease. Some of this research is by association, meaning not a direct cause and effect, but we can still take it as a good reason to include nutrients such as lycopene regularly. Tomatoes also contain lots of water (good for hydration in the summer) as well as Vitamin C, potassium, folate, and beta carotene. All benefits in addition to the wonderful taste of fresh, ripe, summer tomatoes. Need we say more?