Summer heaven in a pie crust
July 30, 2015
This. Sweet Baby Jesus, make this while you have fresh corn and tomatoes. You can thank me later. And you will.
Having been a combination of sick and out of pocket, I got up t’other morning and discovered I had tomatoes that needed to be used. ASAP. I recalled a tomato pie I’d made a few years ago, looked at a few recipes, hearkened to the corn that was in my kitchen and really needed to be worked up because it’s past its prime, and my little brain cells commenced to work.
“Self?” I said. “You love Mexican street corn. You reckon you could combine that with tomatoes in a pie crust, put the regular topping on it like a tomato pie, and see how that goes?”
Self thought about it a few minutes, and agreed we could. So once we got a few other projects going (bread dough rising, dishwasher unloaded, Amazing Grandchild 2 fed breakfast and stashed in front of cartoons), we commenced.
Earlier in the proceedings, we had sliced three tomatoes, sprinkled them with sea salt, and laid them out on a paper-towel-covered rack over the sink to drain. If you skip that step, there’s too much moisture in your tomatoes, and your crust gets soggy. Then I got a pie crust out of the fridge, put it in a pie plate with parchment paper and some dry pinto beans for pie weights, and baked it for about 15 minutes, until it was starting to brown.
I cut the kernels off three ears of corn; stirred about half a cup of Greek yogurt (traditional street corn uses sour cream, but they’re pretty much interchangeable), some ancho chile powder, some cumin and some onion salt in. Set that aside. Made up a topping of about a half-cup mayo and a half-cup grated cheddar. Got out the queso fresco I bought at the international market t’other day. And then self got another bright idea.
“Hey. Get that bacon you cooked the other day out of the fridge.” I tend to cook bacon a pound at a time, and keep the excess in a baggie in the fridge, for use when I need it in a recipe.
So we set about assembling. Started with a layer of sliced tomatoes in the crust. Topped that with half the corn mixture, sprinkled some bacon over that. Meant to sprinkle queso fresco on that, and forgot. Repeated the layers, including forgetting to add the queso fresco again. For the top layer, I put halved cherry tomatoes face-up, and then remembered that dammit, I’d forgotten the queso fresco. So I added it to the topping, along with some cream to thin it down; dolloped that over the top and spread it carefully around, and for good measure sprinkled some more on top. I baked it for 45 minutes or so at 350, until it was nice and browned.
Sweet. Baby. Jesus. This may be the best thing I’ve put together all summer. The corn adds a different sweet element to the sweet of the tomatoes (Carolina Golds and Mortgage Lifters, as I recall, or the red ones might have been Arkansas Travelers), and then the Mexican street-tough influence of the crema, cumin and chile comes elbowing its way in. And there’s a crunch of bacon and that marvelous salty smoked taste of a good BLT except there’s no lettuce, but you don’t miss it. And the silky creaminess of the mayo and cheese mingling in there with it….have mercy!
You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em need to put one of these together A-S-A-P, I’m telling you. It’s substantial enough to make a healthy lunch or a light dinner entree. You could cut a thinner sliver for a side dish. I think if you did this in little mini-tart shells you’d have a kickass appetizer or party food. And I believe it’d be pretty awesome with some scrambled eggs and fresh fruit for breakfast.
Do this. Soon.