Friends are like tomatoes. There are some that are just your run-of-the-mill, hot-house tomatoes. They are not really there for you, not really supportive. You seldom have dinner with this tomato, but there is nothing meaningful there between you both.
Some tomatoes throw you away like garbage, make you feel like you're not good enough. Those tomatoes suck. Those tomatoes make you wish you never invested in them. Yea, totally a bummer to encounter one of these friends (I mean tomatoes).
Then, there is the heirloom tomato. This tomato is unique, special, perfect just the way it is. You accept each other, you let each other know that you are totally there for one another. Heirloom tomatoes don't come often, but when you find one, you hold on to it tightly, and never let go.
My best friend (heirloom tomato friend) just moved to Florida today. Being that I live in Maryland, I'm not too thrilled about the whole thing. I cried, and cried, and I've been crying in the anticipation of this for a couple of months now. She has a daughter, I was in the room when she gave birth to her. She's so beautiful, she has hair of the sun, a smile that lights up a room. I love her. She knows Aunt Katie loves her. She is what I would consider a mini-heirloom tomato. Totally special, adorable and sweet.
We've decided to have weekly skype sessions, visit often. Even if she is so far away, heirloom tomatoes don't come by too often, and she is the best tomato I've ever had. Rachel, I love you. I made this for you.
Rachel's Heirloom Tomato Pie
Adapted from The Food Network
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons shredded manchego cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 1/4 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground pepper
Make the crust: Pulse the flour, cornmeal and fine salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and 3 tablespoons manchego; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with pea-size bits of butter. Drizzle in 4 tablespoons ice water and pulse until the dough comes together; add 1 more tablespoon ice water if necessary. Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.
Put the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll into a 13-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate. Fold the overhang under itself and crimp the edges. Pierce the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line the crust with foil, then fill with dried beans. Bake until the edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and continue baking until golden all over, 10 to 15 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Make the filling: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, thinly slice the tomatoes; toss with 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a colander. Let drain, gently tossing occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Combine the remaining 3/4 cup manchego, the mozzarella, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons each chives and parsley, the thyme, 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper, and the sauteed onion in a bowl. Spread in the crust. Arrange the tomatoes on top. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with pepper. Bake until the tomatoes are browned, about 50 minutes. Top with the remaining 1 tablespoon each chives and parsley.