In Search of the Jersey Tomato: Tomato & Cheese Pie

At the height of Terhune Orchards’ tomato season, Pam Mount reaches for her tattered copy of The Victory Garden Cookbook. This pie is an adaptation of the family’s favorite recipe for all those tomatoes.

1 10-inch pastry shell (homemade or store-bought)

2 lb. tomatoes (about 3 medium-size tomatoes; any rich, “tomato-y” kind will do)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

3 large eggs, separated

1/4 lb. aged gruyère cheese, grated (about 2 c.)

1/8 lb. feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 c.)

Black pepper, to taste

7 leaves basil, cut in chiffonade

(about 21/2 Tbsp.)

To prepare tomatoes Bring a pot of water to boiling. Fill a bowl with cold water and ice. Slice an X in the skin at the bottom of each tomato. Plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water briefly, until the skin starts to separate from the flesh, about 1 minute. Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and plunge into the ice water to stop cooking. Peel the tomatoes. Core tomatoes, cut into quarters, and slice thickly. In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, lightly brown tomato slices in olive oil until they soften slightly but are not limp.

To make pie Bake pastry shell according to instructions until just browned, but not baked through. Preheat oven to 400š Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until creamy. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into egg yolks. Arrange a third of the tomatoes in the pastry crust. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup gruyère, 1/4 cup feta, 1 tablespoon basil, and pepper to taste. Spread half the egg mixture over pie. Top with half the remaining tomatoes, 3/4 cup gruyère, remaining feta, 1 tablespoon basil, and pepper. Spread with remaining egg mixture. Top with remaining tomatoes, gruyère and basil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until egg mixture is set. Cover pastry edges with aluminum foil if they brown too quickly. Serves 6.