September 16, 2016 • FOOD, RECIPE

Recipe for Roasted & Fresh Tomato Pie

Vivian Howard is the chef and proprietor of celebrated Kinston, NC-based restaurants Chef & The Farmer and Boiler Room Oyster Bar.

She’s releasing her new cookbook next month. Titled Deep Run Roots, the book is “a love letter to the food of my region and the people and experiences that made me the person I am,” Vivian says.

We can’t wait to devour it. In the meantime, we’ll be cooking up the recipe for Roasted & Fresh Tomato Pie she shared with us below, along with this one for Peanut, Pepsi & Bourbon Floats.


“As soon as the first tomato blossom turns into a tiny green orb, people start calling Chef & The Farmer to find out if tomato pie is on the menu,” writes Vivian Howard in Deep Run Roots. “In a restaurant where we sell more big hunks of meat than I’d like to admit, tomato pie outsells everything all summer. If you have access to two different colors of tomatoes, combine them here—one for the roasted portion and another for the fresh. It’s a nice visual touch.” (Image credit: Rex Miller.)

Roasted & Fresh Tomato Pie from Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard

Makes 1 10-inch pie

Ingredients for the Filling
1 tablespoon butter
1 large yellow onion, halved and cut into julienne with the grain
2 teaspoons salt, divided
3½ pounds tomatoes cut into ½-inch dice, divided
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon picked thyme
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 turns of the pepper mill or ¼ teaspoon black pepper
⅓ cup picked basil leaves
½ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup grated Fontina
⅓ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Ingredients for the Pie Crust
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter cut into ½-inch cubes
2 tablespoons ice-cold water
½ teaspoon white vinegar


Make the crust: Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium for a few seconds. Then begin adding the butter one cube at a time. Continue until the flour is speckled and crumbly. With the mixer still running, add the water and vinegar until just combined. Do not over-mix. Lay roughly a 10″x10″ square of plastic wrap on the counter in front of you and turn the dough out onto it. Wrap the dough tightly in the plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

Bring the crust to room temperature. Dust your counter and rolling pin lightly with flour and roll the crust slightly larger than your pie pan. Lay the crust in the pan and press gently into its edges. Cut off the edges that hang over and discard. Freeze the crust in the pie pan for at least 15 minutes or until you’re ready to blind-bake.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lay foil or parchment paper on top of the crust and weight that down with dried beans or rice. Blind-bake for 30 minutes.

Make the filling: Preheat your oven to 375°F. In a medium sauté pan or skillet, melt the butter and add the onions and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook the onions over medium-low heat till they are deeply caramelized. This will take about an hour. If your onions get away from you and burn a little, add ¼ cup of water to the pan, scrape up the over-browned bits, and keep going. In the end, you’ll have a scant ⅔ cup caramelized onions.

Toss half the tomatoes with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon sugar. Set them over a colander and let them drain while you get everything else ready, at least 30 minutes.

Toss the remaining tomatoes with ½ teaspoon salt, the thyme, and the olive oil. Spread them out in a single layer on a sheet tray with as much room separating the individual pieces as possible. Slide the tray onto the middle rack of your oven and roast for 20 to 30 minutes. You’re looking for the tomatoes to dry out and brown slightly.

Once all the individual components are done, stir together the onions, the fresh tomatoes, the roasted tomatoes, the remaining salt, sugar, black pepper, and basil. In a separate, smaller bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, Fontina, and Parm.

Spoon the filling into your blind-baked crust and crown it with the topping. Bake in the middle rack of your oven for 30 minutes. You can serve this warm or at room temperature. Both have their virtues.

Read our Q&A with chef Vivian Howard right here and get her recipe for Peanut, Pepsi & Bourbon Floats right here. You can also check out Vivian’s food truck book tour schedule and pre-order Deep Run Roots here.