Tomatoes Fresh from the Vine

My favorite summertime food – tomatoes, ripe and juicy fresh from the vine. Of course, we can eat them sliced with a little salt and pepper, put them thru the canning process to enjoy in the winter or just make a tomato pie and eat the whole thing as one meal which is what my husband and I do. Forget the meat and potatoes, a tomato pie during the season is the best! Although many recipes call for mayonnaise, this one is mayonnaise free which is actually healthier for you. A friend shared this recipe with me and ever since we tried it, it has become our favorite.


1 frozen deep dish pie shell (from the grocery store)
1 cup fresh basil, rolled and cut into strips or ribbons (chiffonade)
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese (pre-packaged is fine)
4-5 fresh tomatoes, peeled, sliced and blotted with paper towels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prebake pie shell for 10 minutes in preheated oven. Remove shell and let cool for at least 5 minutes. Place ribboned basil over the bottom of the cooled prebaked pie shell. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the basil. Arrange peeled and sliced tomatoes in pinwheel fashion over the cheese. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper; drizzle a very tiny amount of olive oil over the top. Place back in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Remove and let rest for about 15 minutes before serving to let it “set”. Enjoy!

* To remove the tomato peeling, bring 3-4 quarts of water to boil in a large saucepan. While the water is coming to a boil, use a paring knife and cut out the stem on the stop of each tomato. Turn the tomato over and carve a small x in the bottom of each tomato (make this cut very shallow). Using a slotted spoon, immerse the tomatoes (a few at a time) for about 10-15 seconds in the boiling water, remove and plunge them into ice water. As soon as they are cooled, immediately remove them from the water and drain. (Don’t leave in the water as they will become soggy.) The peeling is loosened and can now be removed by gently pulling the skin using a paring knife – starting where you have placed the x; slice each tomato and drain slices. I place double layered paper towels on the counter, place the sliced tomatoes on the towels and blot at least three or four times to remove some of the juice. Since tomatoes are primarily water, this helps to keep the pie from being too soggy. You can also omit sprinkling the top with salt as salt will draw out the water even more. Hope you enjoy as much as we do!