The Heirloom Dilemma

IMG_3080For me, heirloom tomatoes just beg for simple treatment. I don’t like to mess with them. I just want them on a plate, displaying all their colorful juicy beauty. For me, it seems a shame to do anything other than let them be. When I do fuss with them, I feel a tinge of guilt. At the I 🍆🍅🍑 California farmer’s market, however, I got A LOT of heirlooms… and I can only consume so much salad. So, this afforded me the luxury of playing with a few of them outside of the salad bowl.

With the goal of keeping things simple, honoring their beauty, I opened my fridge and found some leftover whipped feta and some phyllo dough. The perfect ingredients for a light & flakey heirloom tomato pie. Before I sliced it, I promised the heavy heirloom I would make it the star of this dish. I would honor its beauty. And with that I got to work on my pie. What emerged from my oven was a warm, creamy and crispy pie, in the supporting role to the star.

So, should you have a ton of heirlooms, feel free to step away from the salad bowl and try this out. You won’t be disappointed (or feel guilty about it). I promise.

Tomato Feta PieIMG_3088

  • 4-5 sheets of phyllo dough
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/3 c whipped feta (*), room temperature
  • 1 large heirloom tomato, sliced
  • 5 small cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 6 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped from stems
  • 1 Tbsp basil olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, fresh grated
  • Sea Salt & Pepper to taste. (Maldon or Fleur de Sel Salt)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. When working with phyllo dough, you want to keep it covered with a towel so it doesn’t dry out. Set up your work station as follows: thawed out phyllo dough should be unrolled and quickly covered with a towel. Melted butter and then the tart or pie tin. Working quickly, brush the tart/pie tin with melted butter, place 1 sheet of phyllo over the tin, and fold the edges into the tin to form a crust up the sides. Brush with butter and repeat until you have 4-5 layers of phyllo. Roll up the left over phyllo, cover with plastic wrap and put it back in the box for your next pie. Store in the freezer.

With an offset or rubber spatula, smooth the whipped feta into the bottom of the pie, being careful not to rip the phyllo. You may need to use your hands to press the cheese into one layer. Place the tomato slices onto the cheese. Sprinkle with thyme leaves. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes (if you don’t have basil oil just use any flavor you’d like or plain oil). Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and a pinch of sea salt and pepper.

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes until the crust is golden brown. To serve, sprinkle with a pinch of good sea salt (such as Maldon or Fleur de sel). Enjoy!

Serves 2 as dinner, 4-6 as an appetizer.

(*) Whipped Feta is a ratio of ½ cream cheese and ½ feta with a bit of lemon. You could also use goat cheese.


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