Pimento Cheese Tomato-Herb Pie
Pimento cheese and vine-ripened tomato is one of summer’s best culinary combinations, ranking up there with buttery lobster rolls and flame-licked burgers on the grill.
- 1 9-inch store-bought piecrust, or your favorite recipe, blind baked
- 4 to matoes about 1½ pounds
- 1½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt for sprinkling
- 2 slices bacon cut into lardons
- 1 tablespoon olive oil optional
- 1 sweet onion very thinly sliced
- ½ cup mixed chopped fresh herbs such as chives, parsley, and basil
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 5 ounces freshly grated extra-sharp cheddar about 1¼ cups
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon diced pimento
- ►For best results, blind bake the piecrust, or cook it partially before filling. To blind bake, preheat the oven to 425°F. Crumple a piece of parchment paper, then lay flat in the bottom of the pastry. Weight the paper with pie weights, dried beans, or uncooked rice. This will keep the unfilled piecrust from puffing up in the oven. For a partially baked shell that will be filled and baked further, bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the paper and weights. (You can reuse the rice or beans for blind-baking a number of times.) The shell can now be filled and baked further, according to the recipe directions.
- ►Line a couple of rimmed baking sheets with paper towels. Core tomatoes with a paring knife. Using a serrated knife, slice tomatoes ¼ inch thick. Place a layer of tomato slices on the prepared
- baking sheets. Sprinkle with some of the salt. Top with additional paper towels. Repeat until all tomatoes are sliced and salted. Set aside for at least 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the pie. This is an important step; if you skip it, the tomatoes in your pie will be soggy.
- ►Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat from the pan (discard the fat or reserve it for another use). If you don’t want to cook with bacon fat, you can pour off all the fat and add the olive oil instead. (Alternatively, you can completely skip the bacon and just start with 1 tablespoon olive oil.)
- ►Heat bacon fat or oil over medium heat, then add the onion and cook until lightly caramelized and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. (Don’t skip this step; if you don’t cook the onion, you will wind up with a soggy mess!)
- ►Working a layer at a time, pat the tomatoes dry with paper towels. Place a layer of the tomato slices in the bottom of the piecrust. Add half the cooked onion, bacon, and herbs. Season with pepper. Repeat to make a second layer.
- ►In a small bowl, combine the cheese, mayonnaise, and pimento. Spread the mixture on top of the herbs in the pie. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 425°F, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Slice with a serrated knife. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from Adapted from Secrets of the Southern Table by Virginia Willis © 2018