My name is Karen and I have a Tomato problem. When they are in season, I like to buy too may tomatoes. At some point, they inevitably start to turn and I am guilted into being creative with the red juicy fruit. This is how this beautiful open-faced Puttanesca Slab Pie came into being. I bought a few baskets of multi-colored cherry tomatoes. As instructed by everyone, I leave them out on the counter. At first, they're gorgeous. I prefer them to other centerpieces. But then... I saw the first one get saggy and realized I had to move fast. I entered phase one of my Tomato Rescue Project!
Best way to save cherry tomatoes: roast them in olive oil and salt in the oven. If I wasn't going to eat them within the week, I'd freeze them or I'd can them for later in the year. In this case, I realized the jammy result of a slow roast was headed for a tomato pie of sorts. I also had some leftover roasted onions from a dish earlier in the week and I decided that they, too, would be part of my tomato vision.
I had been thinking hard on what my contribution would be to the summer's seasonal ingredient collaboration. The large crew of food instagrammers and bloggers are always stepping up their game, thanks to our organizers, Rebecca of @squaremealroundtable and Annie of @whatannieseating. My summer food feed was sending me signals: 38 ways to use your tomatoes. Thanks, Bon Appetit, but I think I got this! Pasta Puttanesca was the first kind of "grown-up" tasting pasta that I learned to make. I really hadn't thought of it in a while until this assignment. Then it struck me. The sweetness of the tomatoes and the saltiness of the olives and capers really make this a perfect combo for my roasted and rescued tomato pie.
This recipe is more of assembly instructions than recipe.
Let's get started!
Start by roasting your Tomatoes.
You can do this a day or two before if that works for you.
2 baskets cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
a few springs of thyme (optional)
Toss the tomatoes with the other ingredients. Spread the tomatoes out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes until they are bursting and look a little caramelized. Sometimes, I help the process by popping some of the stubborn ones halfway thru baking. But beware and stand back. When they're done, let them cool them down before assembling the pie, or put them in the fridge in a sealed container till your ready to make your pie.
now for The Pie
Pie Dough - two crusts worth, but you'll roll out the dough into one large rectangle to fill your cookie sheet sized sheet pan.
1/3 c. breadcrumbs
1 lb. whole milk ricotta
12 kalamata olives, cut in half
1/2 c. capers, crisped up in a small pan
1 T. thyme leaves
2 T. chopped parsley
half onion, sliced and sautéed or roasted.
I like to use Julia Child's never-fails-me pie dough recipe. I have also been known to run to Trader Joes on a moment's notice and buy their ready-made because I cannot be bothered to wait the two hours to "let the dough rest" as Julia (and everyone) mandates. So--you do you. Make your favorite pie dough or buy it. Just don't let the dough part prevent you from making something delicious and fun.
Once you have your dough at the ready, roll it out and press it into your sheet pan. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the dough. This will help to absorb any extra moisture and keep your pie pretty crisp after the baking is done.
Spread your tomatoes in a thin layer over the dough. To do this, you might have to break them up a bit. But trust me, you have enough.
Beat the egg in a small bowl. Add 2/3 of the egg and 1 tsp of the thyme leaves to the ricotta and mix thoroughly. Season with a little salt and pepper. Now add dollops of the cheese/egg mixture into a pretty pattern on top of your tomatoes. Next sprinkle your onions, olives, thyme and capers over the entire pie.
Add 1 tsp of water to the remaining little bit of egg and brush along the bordering crust to make sure it turns golden brown in the oven.
Bake at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes. Every dough and every oven are different...so please watch it. And don't be mad at me if it takes longer.
Take it out and sprinkle with the chopped parsley
You're gonna cut squares of this and serve it straight from the pan for your people. I think it's a fine appetizer for a small crowd. Or a meal with a salad any day. Thanks for joining in our Tomato Party!