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Tomato Pie and Buttermilk Parsley Biscuits

Tomato Pie and Buttermilk Parsley Biscuits

2

cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

2 1/2

teaspoons baking powder

1/3

cup cold butter, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes

4

to 6 thickly-sliced tomatoes

1

sprinkling of shredded parsley

1

cup shredded cheddar cheese

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  • 1

    Combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt and baking soda in the bottom of a stand mixer bowl fixed with the paddle attachment.

  • 2

    Add in cold butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas.

  • 3

    Add the parsley and buttermilk and mix until dough pulls completely from the sides.

  • 4

    Pour dough onto counter and knead for a couple minutes, then press into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan.

  • 5

    Cover the biscuit dough with tomatoes, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and basil. Mix cheddar and mayo together and spread the mixture on top of the tomatoes.

  • 6

    Bake at 375°F for about 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Stuff into face.

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • If there’s any type of recipe I love the most, it’s the multi-tasker. You know, the ones that are one thing for dinner tonight and can be made into something totally different for tomorrow’s lunch? Or the ones that can be one thing or another thing, depending on how you need to use them?

    Let me explain.

    You see, I love me a biscuit now and again. Honestly, who doesn’t? But sometimes, I don’t need a biscuit – I need pizza dough or a pie crust. Enter this lovely Buttermilk Parsley Biscuit recipe.

    Biscuit dough is one of the easiest doughs you’ll ever make – in about 10 minutes, you have a cohesive dough, and about 10 minutes after that, you have biscuits. Or pizza dough. Or pie crust. Whatever. It’s that simple, and there’s no catch, save that biscuit dough makes a fine pie crust for this Tomato Pie.

    The savory flavor and fluffy texture of the Buttermilk Parsley Biscuits surrounding the sweet, tangy, cheesiness of this wonderful Tomato Pie is an awakening for your taste buds, especially if you’ve never tried tomato pie before. Layers of fresh, ripe, juicy tomatoes topped with a creamy mixture of cheddar cheese and mayonnaise (yes, mayonnaise) atop a bed of buttery biscuit pie crust? Your mouth will be ever thankful you introduced it to this magic.

    If you’re not a fan of the biscuit pie crust thing, make the Tomato Pie with your own favorite crust. Or, if the whole Tomato Pie thing is too strange for you, make biscuits with the dough. It’s a win-win situation, really. And if you do decide to go all out and make the biscuit crust and the pie, you’ll have a delicious dinner in an hour flat. That, my friends, is a win-win-win.

    Stephanie (aka Girl versus Dough) has joined Tablespoon to share her adventures in the kitchen. Check out Stephanie’s Tablespoon member profile and keep checking back for her own personal recipes on Tablespoon!


Heirloom Tomato Pie

In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour 1/2 cup cornmeal, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Add cold butter, pulsing until mixture is crumbly. Gradually add buttermilk, pulsing until a dough forms.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Place tomatoes on paper towels sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 425˚. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon cornmeal in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 13-inch circle. Press into bottom and up sides of prepared skillet, letting excess extend over sides of skillet.

In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup cheese, mayonnaise, thyme, parsley, oregano, and pepper. Spread onto dough. Layer tomato slices onto filling top with halved tomatoes, and drizzle with vinegar. Fold excess dough over tomatoes at edges.

Bake until crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese bake until melted, about 5 minutes more. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with basil, if desired.


Classic Southern Tomato Pie

Yes! It really is still summer, I swear. If you don't believe me, c'mon down to the Deep South, and I'll show you what heat and humidity are like in September along the Gulf Coast. We were at the Biloxi Seafood Festival this Saturday with the grandkids, and it was as hot as it has been all summer, though we did have a nice cold front pass through Sunday. Temps have been down in the mid-80s with low humidity for a few days and it has been just gorgeous. Only those of us who live our lives in the South understand that is considered "nice and cool."

Still, I know a lot of recipe websites and food bloggers are anxious to move on to fall recipes once we cross that Labor Day line in the beach sand, but fall really is officially a little bit away yet. Even longer than that here in the Deep South if you're talking temperatures. so I'm still fixated on summer dishes.

Besides, there's only a little more time left to enjoy those summer tomatoes y'all and this savory pie is a great way! Then we'll be back to those mealy, tasteless tomatoes that are picked too early and refrigerated to travel across the country, or even the world. Truth is, I intended to bring you this recipe all summer long, but you know what they say about the best laid plans. Vidalias are all but gone by now, but thankfully, you can find sweet onions year round. Those will have to do.

I absolutely adore this pie and I can make a meal of it for days. I actually have to, since The Cajun isn't must interested in things like tomato pies. Unlike the quiche style tomato pie I also love, this one is the more classic, mayo topped, southern style tomato pie and not the tomato (pizza) pie that some of y'all think of when you hear the words "tomato pie." I just love this country! This tomato pie is the one that has layers of tomato, cheese, fresh herbs, and for me a little onion and bacon, and is finished with a topping of a mayonnaise and cheese mixture.

Make your own homemade pie crust or buy a good commercial crust like Pillsbury brand. Since I got my Ninja blender last Christmas I have been using it for both pizza and pie crusts too. Unlike the heavier food processor that has to be stored and then dragged out of storage, the blender stays on the counter and sure makes it easy to whip up a nice crust in no time. Although I still can't get my homemade crusts to look as pretty as a Pillsbury crust, this blender has really grown on me. Hey. rustic is in anyway, right?

Get this luscious tomato pie in while you still can - or at least save it to your recipe box for next season. It's definitely a winner.

Check out more of my southern favorites on Pinterest!

Recipe: Classic Southern Tomato Pie

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Inactive time: 30 min
Cook time: 45 min
Total time: 1 hour 15 min
Yield: About 6 to 8 servings

  • 1 (10 inch) deep dish pie crust , partially baked
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes , sliced (about 18 slices)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 slices of bacon , cooked and crumbled, divided
  • 1 small Vidalia or other sweet onion , quartered and sliced thin (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cups of shredded mozzarella , divided
  • Pinch of granulated sugar , optional
  • Freshly cracked black pepper , to taste
  • Garlic powder , to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup of regular mayonnaise (do not substitute low fat or fat free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, optional
  • 1/8 cup of chopped fresh parsley

Place the uncooked pie crust in a glass, deep dish pie pan, turning the edges under and 1/2 inch over the top of the pie plate to crimp dock crust with a fork in several places. Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is dry looking and just beginning to lightly brown. Set aside to cool completely.

Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with two layers of paper towels. Slice the tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick and lay them out on the paper towels to drain. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and cover with another layer of paper towels. Let tomatoes rest for 30 minutes while you prepare the bacon and onions. Cook the bacon fairly crisp, remove, set aside and saute the onions in the bacon drippings until tender, but not browned.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add half a cup of the mozzarella cheese to the bottom of the cooled pie crust. Knock excess seeds off of tomato slices and top cheese with half of the tomatoes. Sprinkle lightly with sugar if using, then season to taste with the black pepper and garlic powder. Add half of the basil, top with half of the onions, and half of the bacon. Sprinkle a half cup of the cheese on top. Repeat layers, except omit the last layer of cheese.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, hot sauce, if using, parsley and the remaining 2 cups of cheese spread evenly over the top. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until bubbly and light golden brown on top. Shield edges of pie crust if it is browning too quickly. Let pie cool to room temperature before slicing, using a serrated knife. Best served warm, but also very good cold. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Tomato pie can be served as a main dish with a garden salad and a side of seasonal fruit, or as a side on a veggie plate, or along with any main dish protein such as pork, beef, chicken or seafood.

Cook's Notes: Times are estimates as ovens vary. Can also use a combination of cheeses - mozzarella with cheddar, swiss, pepper jack, monterey jack, are all good choices to mix, but always use majority mozzarella. May also use part Parmesan cheese for some of the cheese in the top dressing. May substitute a teaspoon of dried basil and parsley for the fresh herbs and/or use sliced green onion in place of the sweet onion. May also be made with green tomatoes.

Mini Pie Variation: Mini tomato pies are an excellent party food. Use a biscuit cutter to cut mini dough circles out of pie pastry and bake in mini muffin tins, or use mini phyllo shells on a baking sheet. Pre-bake the crusts until very lightly browned, fill as above, except chop tomatoes after draining. Bake about 20 minutes or until light golden brown.

Ham and Tomato Pie: Substitute 1/4 cup of diced, smoked ham for the bacon.

Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

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Recipe Summary

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • ⅔ cup frozen peas
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
  • ⅔ cup half-and-half cream
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 (16.3 ounce) can refrigerated flaky-style biscuits (such as Pillsbury Grands®)
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Melt butter in a skillet over medium-low heat, and cook the onion, celery, and carrots until the celery and carrots are tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in peas, parsley, thyme and flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour coats the vegetables and begins to fry, about 5 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth and half-and-half, and cook until the sauce is thick and bubbling. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, and mix in the chicken meat.

Transfer the chicken, vegetables, and sauce into a 2-quart baking dish. Arrange biscuits on top of the filling. In a small bowl, beat egg yolk with water brush egg yolk on the biscuits.

Bake in the preheated oven until the biscuits are golden brown and the pie filling is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.


Classic Tomato Pie (Updated for 2019)

TAKE PERFECTLY RIPE TOMATOES, place them on a bed of store-bought biscuits, top them with basil, mayonnaise and cheddar cheese, bake the works until puffed and golden, and what do you get? Why, only the most delicious thing on earth — Classic Tomato Pie. You can make this company-worthy fare in no time at all:

Note: I’ve written about Classic Tomato Pie before, first in 2010 and then in 2011. So why mention it again? Well, because if you are new to my blog, you might not know this recipe exists. And that would make me cry.

Note: I cry very easily.
Classic Tomato Pie
Ingredients for one 9-inch pie
10 store-bought biscuits (from a 7.5 oz package)
2 large, perfectly ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Fresh basil leaves (as many as you like), sliced into thin strips
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Tip: For a thin crust, use biscuits from a 7.5-ounce package. For a thicker crust, use biscuits labeled “jumbo-size” or “grands.”

Toss the biscuits into a lightly-greased 9-inch pie plate…

And press them against the bottom and sides of the plate.

Next, cut 2 large tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices.

And by the way, I hope you will use only perfectly ripe, in season tomatoes for this pie. More often than not, tomatoes obtained from the supermarket in winter have traveled 3,000 miles in a refrigerated truck.

Long-distance tomatoes are tasteless tomatoes.

Lay the tomato slices on the biscuit crust, as above. Then give them a generous sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper.

Next, grab 7-10 fresh, fragrant basil leaves, and stack them together as pictured above.

Tightly roll the leaves from tip-end to stem-end, as if you were rolling a cigar.

Then slice the cigar cross-wise into thin strips. This is called a “Basil Chiffonade.”

Sprinkle the basil over the tomatoes.

Blend mayonnaise with extra-sharp cheddar cheese.

This isn’t a diet-dish. But it’s a delicious dish. If you wish to substitute low-fat yogurt for the mayo, just as my friend Ed did when making this pie for his friends on Fire Island, the decision is entirely yours.

I spoke with Ed last night, and he told me my tomato pie is “the talk of Fire Island.”

Lily the Beagle awoke from her nap when she caught a whiff of cheddar. In the photo above, she’s watching me stir the cheese and mayo together.

Yes, Lily, I’m talking about you.

Drop big dollops of the cheese mixture over the pie. Then spread it around with a spoon.

Bake the pie on the lower-middle rack of a preheated 375-degree oven until golden brown — 30-35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack until juices subside — about 30 minutes.

For me, the 30-minute wait always feels like an eternity. I vant to eat ziss pie!

A biscuit crust…summer-fresh tomatoes…fragrant basil and a mayo-and-cheese topping…this pie is totally awesome, dude.

And although Tomato Pie is a cinch to prepare, it is elegant enough for a summertime dinner party. A dinner party where goblets of Pinot Noir are generously poured.


Heirloom Tomato and Cheese Pie

When it comes to food photography and dinnertime, you have to be quick around here. Wanna know why?

This picture snapped with my iPhone is the only picture I have of this dish in its entirety. It was late evening, the natural light was no good, and we were hungry. I suppose I could have made two pies and saved one for photographs, but that seems like a lot of work. So here you are, folks.

Once again, I had to fight off The Husband for these few precious remaining leftovers. I wanted at least something to remember this by. He just wanted lunch.

If you are a fan the Chicago-style deep dish pizza (which I am!), then you will love this recipe. I am of the school of thought that when it comes to pizza, the crust is the best part. None of this namby-pamby thin crust either. To me, that’s like eating pizza on a soggy saltine cracker. No, it has to be thick and bready, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

The Husband is one of the best people to eat thick crust pizza with, because he eats around the crust. After 11 years together, he now just tosses his leftover crusts on my plate. That’s just one of the many reasons why we are a good match.

I adapted this recipe using my own buttermilk biscuit recipe. It’s so much easier than working with pizza dough, which I find to be infuriating to roll out. This was very easy to work with. I made sure to sprinkle a generous layer of cornmeal down on my pizza peel before rolling out so I could easily slide the pie onto my pizza stone already preheating in the oven. This ensures my crust came out just the way I like it. No sogginess here!

While this pie is better suited for summer months when heirloom tomatoes are at their peak, I definitely see myself adapting this for use in other homemade pizza recipes.


Tomato Gravy Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Varies
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American, Southern

Description

Tomato Gravy is great served over homemade Buttermilk biscuits. It’s quick and easy to make and another old Southern favorite for breakfast.

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of Bacon Grease
2 Tablespoons of Flour
1 28oz can of Crushed Tomatoes, or homemade canned tomatoes if you have them.
2 teaspoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions

Place a skillet over Medium heat on your stove top.
Add the bacon grease, let melt.
Add the flour.
Stir flour into the bacon grease and let cook 2 minutes until flour begins to brown.
Add the can of tomatoes and liquid.
Add the sugar.
Add the salt.
Add the black pepper.
Stir everything together and let simmer 5 minutes to thicken.
Serve warm over homemade buttermilk biscuits.
Enjoy!

Notes

Home canned tomatoes are perfect for this recipe like Mama used to make it. But, you can use store bought crushed tomatoes if you need too. It will still taste great. Smile.

Keywords: tomato gravy, old fashioned, southern canned tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, bacon grease, breakfast, quick, easy

Your Comments:

Have you tried our Tomato Gravy Recipe? How did you like it?

Share your memories of this dish with us. It will only take a minute or two for you to leave your comments in the section below.

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Tomato Cobbler with Blue Cheese Biscuits

I know what you’re thinking. You really don’t even have to say it. I put the words ‘tomato’ and ‘cobbler’ in the same recipe title. Clearly something has gone wrong here. How can it be cobbler without peaches, blueberries, strawberries… or maybe even some sort of salty bacon topping? How can it be cobbler without crunchy oats and cinnamon?

Trust me… I definitely had my reservations when it came to this recipe. I like tomatoes…. but how much do I reeaallly like tomatoes. If I pick around all the big tomato chunks in my dad’s spaghetti sauce… does that mean this dish is going to stress me out? Wait. There are biscuits involved. Do biscuits rescue any dish? Yes. They do. … it’s go-time.

These tomatoes are a big deal. They’re juicy and sweet. They’re amazing plain or roasted. They’re just begging to be fussed over. Really… they need no biscuit salvation. They’re divine on their own.

Tomatoes aren’t the only star of the show. Fresh basil, loads of sliced garlic, and balsamic are also a big deal in this simple recipe.

Beyond the sweet summer tomatoes, caramelized onions also play a leading role. They add a very grounding element to the sweet acidity of the dish. Luscious, I tell you. Dang luscious.

The seasoned herb, onion, and tomato mixture is tossed with a bit of flour that will act as a thickener. Toss it in the oven for a bit of pre-roasting while the biscuits are made and shaped. Your house will smell fantastic-o!

Another day. Another biscuit.

You know how it goes around here.

This time around we’re adding buttermilk and blue cheese.

The cheese happens to be a Danish buttermilk blue cheese. Swoon for real.

Biscuit dough is lightly kneaded and shaped.

And cut into perfectly imperfect circles.

I had a few extra biscuits that didn’t fit in the cobbler pan. Those went in the freezer, unbaked, for future-brunch.

Brush biscuits with buttermilk and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Get this goodness baking again!

Golden brown biscuits and warm, bursting tomatoes. If there were ever any doubt about the deliciousness of this recipe, about whether or not tomatoes could be substantial enough to carry a dish…. that all goes right out the window at this very moment.

Call your friends… this dish is dang good. It’s equal parts light and hearty. It’s sweet and savory. The blue cheese tang is out of this world in the tender biscuits. This dish is ultimately satisfying. This would be the perfect dish to bring to a summer potluck for a more substantial and hearty feel. Who wants to bring the girl with the banana-heavy fruit salad? No one wants to be that girl. Step it up!

Tomato Cobbler with Blue Cheese Biscuits

inspired by Martha Stewart and the Clinton St Bakery Cookbook

1 tablespoons baking powder

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

3 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cold and cut into cubes (or substitute unsalted butter here)

1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles

1/2 to 3/4 cup cold buttermilk

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup coarsely chopped basil (or a combination of chopped fresh thyme, oregano, and parsley)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

salt and coarsely ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter and shortening. With your fingers, quickly break up the fat into the dry ingredients. Rub the fats into the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Some butter pieces will be the size of small peas, other will be the size of oat flakes. Toss in blue cheese crumbles. Stir to incorporate.

Create a small well in the center of the flour mixture. Add buttermilk all at once. With a fork, quickly bring together the wet and dry ingredients. The dough will be rather shaggy. Dump dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead dough about 10 times, bringing it together into a disk. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the filling is assembled.

To make the tomato Filling:

Add olive oil and butter to a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add sliced onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook and brown onions, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 18 to 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute more. Remove pan from heat, add balsamic vinegar and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together clean cherry tomatoes (no need to cut them), chopped basil (or whatever herbs you’re using), flour, and red pepper flakes. Add caramelized onions and toss together until everything is lightly and evenly coated in flour. Season with salt and pepper.

Place rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Pour the tomato and onion filling into a square 8࡮-inch baking dish. Place in the oven and bake tomatoes filling for 15 to 18 minutes.

Remove the biscuit dough from the fridge. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out biscuit dough into a 3/4 or 1-inch thickness. Use a 1 1/2 to 2-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits. Dip the cutter in flour should it get sticky.

Remove the partially cooked filling from the oven and carefully place 6 biscuits atop the tomato filling in the pan. Brush biscuit tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reshape and reroll excess biscuit dough to make extra biscuits at another time. (The shaped biscuit dough freezes very well.)

Return warm filling and biscuit dough to oven and bake for 17-22 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and cooked through, and the tomato mixture is bubbling.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving. Tomato Cobbler is best served warm.


Parmesan Parsley Biscuits

Pass the butter please. You can’t possibly not have some butter with a hot biscuit right out of the oven.

I made these biscuits one craft circle morning for my table ladies. There are about 12-14 of us at the “projects” table. Normally, I take something to share with the whole group of 60-80 ladies but this day I made my Pumpkin Tomato Soup for my group’s lunch and these biscuits all came our way. I wished they could have been hot out of the oven (the best way to eat any biscuit) but I had to bake them right before I left that morning still good though.

Do you ever make homemade biscuits? Yes, I hope is the answer because they are so much better than those that come in the cans you pop open the ones that make me jump everytime they pop open. I do use canned biscuits when I make sausage roll-ups for the kids/grans but that is the only time. I don’t remember my mother or grandmother ever using canned biscuits. There was a little love in each biscuit they formed, cut and baked for us.

My husband loves the biscuits I make and then I fill them with sausage patty and freeze so he can grab one on his way out to golf every morning. Hope if you aren’t making homemade biscuits occasionally then you will try one of my biscuit recipes.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: With cool/cold weather just weeks away here’s a recipe for my Cornbread Buttermilk Soup that will warm your tummy.

Yes I do use lard in my biscuits.

Cut the lard and butter into the flour with pastry blender or fingertips. Add in the cheese than buttermilk.

Chop parsley and add to the biscuit mix.

Roll biscuits to 3/4″-1″ thick and using a 2″ cookie cutter cut as many biscuits as you can and then reroll dough and cut more.

Put 3-4 tablespoons of bacon fat on rimmed cookie sheet. Put biscuits on sheet about 1″ apart. Brush tops with melted butter and top with the extra 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.


RECIPES: The versatile summertime tomato makes its way into dishes in many ways

Tomato Pie (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)

One needs no recipe for a tomato sandwich — not even a BLT — although if you've never had a German-style tomato sandwich on brown bread with butter in place of the mayonnaise, you've been missing out.

But for some tomato creations, a little guidance is helpful. Say, tomato jam or cheese-topped broiled tomatoes or tomato cobbler.

Tomatoes are a common staple among many world cuisines. Although that wasn't always the case. In terms of cultivated crops, tomatoes may be old, but their culinary uses are still relatively new. Food historians generally agree that Central and South Americans were cultivating tomatoes as long ago as 700 AD.

Europeans and American Colonists grew tomatoes as ornamental plants and for medicinal purposes according to Joanne Weir in "You Say Tomato."

However, tomatoes had to make the trip across the Atlantic and back again before they would become a popular food in what is now the United States.

The French, the Italians and Thomas Jefferson are largely credited with bringing tomatoes to the mainstream. References to edible tomatoes appear as early as 1827 in the Arkansas Gazette, but it was after the American Civil War that tomatoes really took off.

In 1835 the Gazette ran a recipe of sorts:

Spiced Tomatoes — As this is the season for securing a supply of this healthful vegetable, we commend to all housekeepers to put up some after the following recipe. By doing so, they may preserve them perfectly good until tomatoes come again:

Recipe for a bushel of Tomatoes.—Take your tomatoes and pour boiling water over them, skin them, then boil them well after which, add a teacupful of salt, a tablespoonful of black pepper, one do. of cayenne, an ounce of cloves, an ounce of cinnamon, and an ounce of mace mix well and put the tomatoes into small jars, run mutton suet over them, and tie them up, either with strong blue paper or buckskin. Prepared this way they will keep for a year.

The abbreviation do. stood for "ditto" and referred to the measurement in the line above in a column of type, and so this recipe calls for one tablespoon of cayenne.

Fun fact: Tomatoes are technically berries because they are fruits that encase more than one seed and come from flowers with only one ovary. Surprisingly, bananas are also berries under this definition.

This jam is spicy and sweet in all the right ways. Try it slathered on grilled cheese sandwiches, with a charcuterie or cheese board or even on a sausage biscuit. If a smoother jam is desired, mince the onion and pepper or puree the mixture using an immersion blender before the evaporation is complete.

Tomato Chile Jam

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1 ¼ pounds tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped (we used romas)

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over low heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika and salt cook for about 2 minutes more. Stir in the tomatoes, vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and mixture thickens to a jelly-like consistency, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate.

Recipe inspired by a recipe in "Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival 1956-2006 50th Anniversary Cookbook" (Warren, Ark.)

This tomato pie is best served warm, but I've been known to eat the leftovers straight from the fridge.

Tomato Pie

3 to 4 cups sliced tomatoes, preferably a combination of red and green

1 unbaked pie crust (9-inch), homemade or store-bought

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

2 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Place tomato slices in a single layer on a wire rack set over baking sheet sprinkle with salt. Let stand/drain for 15 to 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 375 degrees.

Place the pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan, the deeper the better. Prick all over with a fork. Flute the edges, if desired. Line crust with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven, but leave oven on. Remove weights and parchment paper. Let crust cool slightly. Layer half the tomato slices on the bottom of the crust. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the basil, green onions and garlic. Sprinkle half of the basil-onion-garlic mixture evenly over the tomatoes, followed by half of each cheese. Repeat layers.

Spread the mayonnaise evenly over the entire pie. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Use any tomato you like for this recipe. It can even be made with canned tomatoes.

Tomato Cornbread Cobbler

1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, cored and diced OR 2 cups canned diced tomatoes, drained

1 jalapeno, seeded if desired, diced

¼ to ½ teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and black pepper, to taste

2 teaspoons baking powder

Toss together the diced tomatoes, diced jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, cumin and lime juice. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

In a large oven-safe skillet, preferably cast-iron, melt the butter over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add the milk and stir until a thick, smooth batter forms. Pour the batter over the melted butter in the skillet. Do not stir. Spoon the tomato mixture on top of the batter. Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered.

Adapted from "The Homesick Texan Cookbook" by Lisa Fain

Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes

Salt and ground black pepper

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Basil, thyme, parsley, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes or other desired herbs

Line one or two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Arrange tomato slices on the prepared baking sheet(s) in a single layer. Season each slice with a little salt and pepper.

In a bowl, combine the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Divide cheeses among tomato slices. Sprinkle desired herbs or seasonings over cheese. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and then broil until cheese is bubbly and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Recipe adapted from thecookierookie.com

I was hesitant to include two cobbler recipes in this story, but this recipe is so different from the other. Lisa Fain's tomato cornbread cobbler really is more like cornbread. This one features a biscuit crust and Mediterranean-leaning flavors of ricotta, thyme and sherry.

Tomato Cobbler With Ricotta Biscuits

2 ½ cups PLUS 2 tablespoons cake flour or all-purpose, plus more for dusting

5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided use

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ cup butter (1 stick), cut into cubes and chilled

1 cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing

2 to 2 ½ pounds cherry tomatoes or Sungold tomatoes

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Prepare the ricotta: Strain the ricotta in a cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer for at least 30 minutes. When it's ready to use, squeeze to get rid of any excess moisture.

Prepare the ricotta biscuits: Put 2 ½ cups flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, the baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Transfer to the freezer to chill for about 20 minutes. Add the butter to the bowl and using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture until no large pieces remain. Make a well in the center and gradually pour in 1 cup buttermilk while using a fork to fluff in the flour from the sides of the bowl until you form a shaggy-looking dough. Crumble in the ricotta and loosely incorporate with your fingers.

Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and use your hands to shape it into a roughly 4-inch-by-6-inch rectangle. Fold into thirds and flatten back to the same size with your hands repeat two more times, flattening the dough out until about 1-inch thick. Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes.

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut about half the tomatoes in half. In a 2-quart baking dish, combine all the tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and thyme sprigs with the remaining 4 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons cake flour. Season generously with salt and pepper, and let sit while you prepare the biscuit dough.

Lay the biscuit dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 2-inch squares or circles and arrange in a single layer over the tomatoes -- you should have around 10 to 12 biscuits. Roll and cut scraps, or just bake the scraps separately to snack on. Brush the remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk on top of the biscuits, and bake for 45 minutes, until the tomato mixture has bubbled up and the biscuits are browned on top. Allow to cool, and serve warm or at room temperature, finishing with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from "Dappled: Baking Recipes for Fruit Lovers" by Nicole Rucker via The New York Times


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