Recipe: Nell's Mom's 90th-Birthday Eggplant-Tomato Pie!
By Nell Jefferson Fredericksen, FLF&LR Member
This is the season for lovely tomatoes, onions, basil, and eggplants. And with an abundance of tomatoes, I make a southern staple – Tomato Pie - quite frequently. I already had plans to make this for my mother’s 90th birthday lunch, so when Katie Hoffman brought me two lovely eggplants and my garden provided a nice assortment of tomatoes, onions, and basil to spare, well, it seemed these all needed to be partnered together. So I decided to add some lovely roasted eggplant to my mom’s birthday tomato pie. And after eating this, the question arose: why have I not done this sooner than now? It was yummy!
Here is my eggplant-y spin on this classic southern favorite. (Makes two pies)
Krusteze pie crust mix (or two frozen pie shells, or any recipe you like that makes two crusts)
6 large slicing tomatoes or 10-12 small tomatoes
1 large onion or several small onions thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
2 large eggplants or several small Asian eggplants
4-5 cups shredded cheese of your choice (mozzarella, cheddar, etc). For this recipe, since it was a special occasion, I used a mix of Robusto, Gouda, and Black Truffle Parrano.
2 cups mayo
1 cup fresh basil chiffonade
Salt and pepper
In explanation of the odd things in the photo, the stuffed chihuahua is to keep our kitten off the counter and to keep her from shredding the paper towels. And ignore all the jalapenos and habaneros. They do not find their way into the pie (but you could certainly add them for a nice bit of heat!!).
We grew a lovely version of a green when ripe tomato, so the green tomatoes in this photo are fully ripe!
1) Start by making your pie crust (according to box directions, or using prepared crusts or your favorite recipe). Line your pie plates with the crust. Prick the bottom of the crust all over and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a bit. Increase the oven temperature to 400 F.
2) While the crust is cooking, peel and slice your eggplants into ¼ inch thick slices and place on an oiled baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for about 10 minutes. The salt will pull fluid out of the slices – you will see this puddled on top. Using a clean dish cloth or paper towels, pat the slices dry. Drizzle the slices with a bit of olive oil. Place in the 400F oven and roast for 15-20 minutes until the eggplant is soft and just starting to brown a bit. Remove from the oven and let cool. Adjust the oven temperature to 375F.
3) Prepare the other pie ingredients. Thinly slice the onions. Core the tomatoes and gently squeeze out the seeds. Then slice the tomatoes into ¼ inch slices. (I do not peel my tomatoes but if you would like to have them peeled, you can blanch and peel before slicing.)
4) Grate the cheese and place in a bowl. Add the mayo and basil chiffonade. Mix well. I also have a huge patch of garlic chives that are blooming at the moment, so I added in a good handful of the flowers to the cheese mixture.
5) Start building the pies. Place a layer of tomatoes in the crust, followed by a layer of the roasted eggplant and then a thin layer of the sliced onions. Salt and pepper the layers.
6) Spread a thin layer of the cheese mixture on the tomatoes, then repeat step 5. Top the second group of layers with the remaining cheese mixture.
7) Bake the pies for 30-40 minutes.
8) Let cool for a few minutes before slicing, then ENJOY!!!
Mid-September 2020 Shopping List LIST:
Excellent EVOO from Olive Oil Taproom
Mediterranean sea salt from Forest Green Farm
Light grey celtic sea salt from Good Health Herbs
garlic chives from Manakintowne Specialty Growers
J Q Dickenson salt from Manakintowne Specialty Growers
Goat cheese from Caromont Farm
Sheep milk cheese from Twenty Paces
Hand-stretched mozzarella from Curds & Whey RVA
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