Tomato pie is a slice of the South for late summer

Tomato pie is a classic Southern dish made in late summer when the tomato plants are heavy with ripe fruit, but everyone has had their fill of tomato sandwiches and salads. It is essentially a pie shell filled with fresh sliced tomatoes and sweet onions, topped with mixture of shredded cheese and served with a sprinkle of fresh basil.

It's not fancy and generally is not served in restaurants, but you can find it at potluck suppers, farmers markets, roadside stands and most every rural kitchen. My mother didn't make tomato pie, but my aunt did. It was at her house that I experienced some of my favorite Southern church dishes, and this is one of them.

Dijon Tomato and Sweet Onion Pie

Start to finish: 1 hour (15 minutes active)

Servings: 6

9-inch raw pie shell, fitted in a pan

1 small Vidalia or other sweet onion

3 to 4 small heirloom tomatoes

1 1/4 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

1 1/4 cups grated Gruyere cheese

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard

1 heaping teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard

Ground black pepper

1 smail bunch fresh basil (about 10 leaves), thinly sliced

Heat the oven to 350 F. Bake the pie shell until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.

While the pie shell bakes, thinly slice the onion and tomatoes. Arrange the tomato slices on paper towels to absorb excess moisture.

In a medium bowl, mix together both cheeses, the mayonnaise, both mustards and a generous pinch of pepper. The mixture should be thick, but spread easily.

Spread a thin layer of the cheese mixture over the bottom of the pie shell. Top the mixture with half of the onion slices, then half of the tomato slices, followed by the remaining onions, then the remaining tomatoes. Spread the rest of the cheese mixture over the tomatoes. Bake until browned and bubbly, 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove the pie from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into slices, then top each serving with some of the basil.

Nutrition information per serving: 470 calories; 300 calories from fat (64 percent of total calories); 33 grams fat (14 grams saturated; 0 grams trans fats); 65 milligrams cholesterol; 30 grams carbohydrate; 1 gram fiber; 6 grams sugar; 15 grams protein; 620 milligrams sodium.

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