Lila's Tomato Pie

This is from my Mom's friend Lila, who brought it with her from Louisiana. Lila grows tomatoes and this is what she does with the plethora of a late-summer crop and brings pies to her friends. Don't bother if you don't have in-season tomatoes and fresh basil. Seriously. Just leave it.

Note: I've tried this with fresh garlic and, interestingly, garlic powder yields a better flavor! Feel free to experiment, though. This is a classic "dump-it" Southern recipe; very easy and totally rewarding.

Also, you can make this in a regular dish or a deep-dish pan. The deep dish requires lots of tomatoes and longer cooking and is decadent.

1 9-inch pie crust (Pillsbury is fine!)
about 5 large very ripe tomatoes
fresh basil, torn into bite-sized pieces
salt & pepper
garlic powder

3/4 cup best mayonnaise (no low-fat business - it will be awful)
1 1/2 cup good grated cheddar

Pierce crust all over and bake at 375 about 10 minutes or so to dry a bit. Remove from oven and set aside. Change oven to 350.

Slice tomatoes thickly. IMPORTANT: blot each slice on both sides on paper towels to absorb the surface moisture. Otherwise, your pie will swim in water. Make a single layer of tomatoes in bottom of dish. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder and dot with fresh basil. Repeat in layers until dish is full and rounded a bit on top.

Mix mayo and cheese well and spread gently over top of pie. Bake at 350 about 40 minutes or until topping is brown and bubbling, adding time as needed. Remove from oven and let sit 10 painful minutes. If it doesn't rest, you'll never be able to cut it

Serve this with summer corn, either on the cob or in a salad.




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