Hold on there, Summer! Oh, I know Labor Day is the traditional end of summertime. And yes, we’ve taken Son1 to college. Middle is now a freshman in high school, and Little has finished her third week of Middle School, but still I’m not quite ready for fall. For one thing, it’s officially summer until September 23rd. In this part of the country, the calendar and the thermometer are in perfect agreement on that date. Besides, the farm stands are still loaded with garden ripe tomatoes and local peaches! So, dear readers, I plan to cook, serve, and enjoy two of my summer favorites for a few more weeks! Following is a recipe for Tomato Pie that I cobbled together along with a recipe I adapted from Southern Living for Tomato Peach Salad. Tomato Pie
four or five fist-sized garden ripe tomatoes that just yield to the touch
a cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
a generous half cup of grated Parmesan
a scant half cup of Duke’s mayonnaise
a half cup of fresh basil, torn or chopped fine
a pie crust pastry (homemade or Pillsbury)
salt and pepper
Slice the tomatoes and place in a single layer on paper towels. Salt and pepper generously and allow to drain for at least half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Gently place pie crust in a lightly sprayed pie plate or tart pan. Cover the bottom of the pie crust with the shredded mozzarella. Next, layer the tomato slices and basil. Mix together the parmesan and mayonnaise and spread on top. (This works best by dropping dollops of the mayonnaise cheese mixture across the top and then spreading gently with a silicone spatula.) Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a lovely golden color. Allow to come to room temperature before slicing and serving.
Tomato pie is a wonderful accompaniment to grilled steak, chicken, or fish. It is also excellent as an entree with a leafy and lightly dressed green salad.
Tomato Peach Salad
four or five garden ripe tomatoes, sliced thickly and drained on paper towels
four ripe peaches, quartered and peeled (By the way, if a peach feels like a tennis ball, it is not ripe nor will it get ripe. It will only get soft, which sadly is not the same.)
one-fourth cup broken pecan pieces, lightly toasted in the oven or browned on the stove top
two green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
one-fourth cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
one-fourth cup crumbled feta cheese, optional
Whisk together brown sugar, vinegar, and olive oil. Set aside. Layer tomatoes in slices or half-slices on a platter or individual salad plates. Coarsely chop peach quarters and scatter on tomato slices. Sprinkle with green onion and lightly drizzle with vinaigrette. Top with toasted pecan pieces and feta crumbles.
The smoke and crunch of the toasted pecans are a nice note in this salad. Although I like feta, I think it detracts a bit in this dish. As with Tomato Pie, Tomato Peach Salad would be a great side salad for grilled fish or fowl. We had it a few nights ago with dirty rice and a green salad, and it was mighty tasty.
So, yes, I will be ready for fall, but today I am savoring summer.