It's just got something special about it.
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Making a tomato pie is a labor of love. If you’re an overachiever in the kitchen (I am not), it all begins with rolling out a homemade crust. Of course, there’s the slicing, the draining, the seasoning, the flipping, the seasoning, the draining. But every tiny step in the tomato pie journey yields some sort of gratification. Whether it’s seeing all those perfectly ripe tomatoes lined up on kitchen towels, or the savory pastry smell wafting from the oven as it cooks, tomato pie is one of those Southern dishes that’s just got something special about it.

Of all the tomato pies I’ve enjoyed making over the years, our Old-Fashioned Tomato Pie is second to none. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not one to take the time to roll out a homemade crust. Holding true to my store-bought-will-suffice attitude, I make this pie using a good old refrigerator-section, grocery store crust as the base. Do I think you should go ahead and make the from-scratch dough the recipe calls for? Absolutely, but I can’t say that all will be lost if you don’t. So just figure out where your priorities lie and never let anyone make you feel bad for cutting corners—well, most of the time.

Once the pie crust has been pre-baked, the filling comes together simply by piling in thinly sliced fresh tomatoes that have been drained on paper towels and seasoned. I typically let them drain for quite a while, much longer than the 10 minutes the recipe calls for. It keeps my pie from getting too runny. Once they’re all nestled in, it’s time for the topping—and it’s a decadent one. A mixture of Gruyere and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses with an array of herbs (whatever I have on hand, but typically chives and basil), plus a little mayo for good measure, is spread on top. As the pie bakes, the top and corner bits crisp while the creamy, cheesy topping somehow manages to melt into the layers of tomatoes. It is dee-vine.

Just Ripe for Summer: Old Fashioned Tomato Pie
Credit: Iain Bagwell

It’s going to be so very tempting, but you need to let this pie sit for a minute before serving. And by a minute I mean no less than 10 or else your pie filling might run all over your plate. Top each serving with a little sprinkle of fresh chives or chopped basil. It's truly what my Sunday family dinner dreams are made of, and I hope you'll find the same to be true.