July 25, 2014 at 1:00 am

Simply the Best

This tomato pie just too good to wait for

Serve a fresh tomato pie for a meatless meal. (Kate Lawson / The Detroit News)

I donít strictly adhere to meatless Mondays; if I want a juicy BLT and itís Monday, I go for it. Actually, we do enjoy a lot more meatless meals, especially during the summer when fresh produce is in abundance. I donít have a vegetable garden, preferring instead to support the local growers, and besides, I have enough grief fighting off the critters who love to eat my flowers. I can just imagine the field day theyíd have with beans and cukes. But I do like to grow tomatoes and have a few varieties in pots on the deck. Cherry tomatoes are one of my favorite varieties, and if I can get to the fruit before the birds and squirrels, I manage to get quite a nice harvest.

But this year, the tomatoes are slow to ripen. The cooler temps and cloudy days arenít kind to the ripening process. And while I try to wait out the season and get my tomato fix from my own plants, when I saw this recipe for tomato pie from cookbook author Ian Knaur on the website takepart.com, I knew I couldnít wait; Iíd have to break my rule and head to the store. Iím a pie lover and cherry pie is my favorite, so it only stands to reason that cherry tomato pie would appeal to me.

There are tomato pie recipes galore online, but most of them have cream cheese or bacon in the filling and are made with premade pie shells. I love the fact that this pie crust recipe is made with olive oil instead of butter. The olive oil is the perfect accompaniment to the fresh tomatoes, and fresh chopped herbs and capers keep the tomatoes company in a wonderfully juicy filling.

This dish doesnít need a side; serve with a crisp rose and toast the tomatoes.

Cherry Tomato Pie

From Ian Knaur and takepart.com

Crust:

1 Ĺ cups all-purpose flour
Ĺ teaspoon kosher salt
13 cup olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons water or milk

Cherry tomato filling:

2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons minute tapioca
1 tablespoon sugar
1 Ĺ teaspoons kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
ľ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved if large
1 cup mixed chopped herbs (basil, oregano, chives, savory)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons capers in brine
Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the flour and salt in a bowl. Stir in the oil with a wooden spoon or spatula until it is incorporated and looks lumpy. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the water, and squeeze a handful of the dough. If it is still crumbly, stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of water. Form the dough into a ball and place on a sheet of wax paper. Flatten the dough into a disk; then flour the top and roll into an 11-inch round with a floured rolling pin, dusting the dough and pin with more flour as needed.

Place a 9-inch pie plate over the dough. Using the paper as a guide, turn the dough into the pie plate, and peel the paper away. Press the dough into the pan, and fold the edge under to form a crust. Crimp the edge of the dough if desired. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork and chill at least 30 minutes.

Place a sheet of aluminum foil in the dough and fill with pie weights. Bake the crust until it is set, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and continue to bake the crust until golden, 20 to 25 minutes more. Let the crust cool completely before continuing with the recipe.

Filling: Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Pulse the cornstarch and tapioca in a spice grinder, then whisk together with the sugar, 1 Ĺ teaspoons salt, and ĺ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Cut the tomatoes in half, then stir into the cornstarch mixture. Fold in the herbs, mayonnaise and capers, then place in the pie shell.

Bake the pie until the filling is bubbling, 35 to 45 minutes. Let the pie cool completely on a rack before slicing and serving. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan if desired. Serves 8.

Per serving: 250 calories; 14 g fat (2 g saturated fat; 50 percent calories from fat); 29 g carbohydrates; 5 g sugar; 3 mg cholesterol; 587 mg sodium; 4 g protein; 2 g fiber.

KLawson@detroitnews.com