What To Do With All Those Tomatoes

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When you grow a garden, you know what it’s like when the tomatoes start coming in heavy and you have to figure out what to do with them. My mother used to can stewed tomatoes. It took her one long weekend, but we had enough for the whole winter.

I had an even worse problem than tomatoes one year with zucchini. When those things ripen, they start taking over the yard! They can get the size of footballs in no time flat. That summer lead me to design a recipe for zucchini lasagna. This was back in the late 70’s before zucchini lasagna became a “thing.” I made zucchini lasagna for my family, my friends or even anyone at the office who would take a casserole home.

Now that I live in the mid-South, I am trying to learn more and more about the cooking here. On the surface, it looks like it’s all biscuits and chicken. I do have to admit they make better fried chicken in these parts than I have had anywhere else in the country! Juicy on the inside and super crispy on the outside.

But what else do they eat besides biscuits, chicken, collard greens and okra? (I’m not really a fan other either of those last two. Collard greens are too earthy for my taste-buds and okra tastes like a glue mass to me.)

I have discovered I love fried green tomatoes and just recently I came across tomato pie.

Well, it is tomato season and the grocery stores and farmers’ markets around here are bursting with tomatoes. Heirloom, plum, beefsteak, cherry; you name it. They are all ripe, too. They didn’t have to travel far to get here; likely just around the corner, so they don’t have to be taken home and ripened. They are ready to eat today.

I decided to research tomato pie. I was interested in the history of such a Southern delicacy.

This is what I found on Wikipedia:

The Southern tomato pie is a tomato dish from the Southern United States. It consists of a pie shell with a filling of tomatoes (sometimes with basil or other herbs), covered with a topping of grated cheese mixed with either mayonnaise or a white sauce.[1][2] It is considered a summer dish, to be made when tomatoes are in season.[3]

A sweet version uses buttered and sugared green tomatoes, with a recipe dating at least as far back as 1877.[4] The taste has been compared to that of green apple pie.[5][6]

I was not all that surprised that this recipe has a long history. I also thought about how it’s not expensive to make and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner; and even a brunch dish. With a side salad this can be an entire meal. One pie can give four people a hefty serving each, or with the side salad it can serve six generously.

I was curious about the mayonnaise. I love a BLT so the mayonnaise was not totally shocking but how might it taste baked up and warm?

I know now. Fabulous!

My husband looked at the notes that I took from various recipes that I researched. He was a bit skeptical about the mayo; not sure he was going to like it. It was the only offering for dinner, so he sat on the side sort of observing where this was going.

In the end, he praised it highly. He loved it.

You’ll love it, too.

I made mine with a tart pan instead of a pie pan. You can decide what you like better.