Thursday, August 27, 2015

Heirloom Tomato Ricotta Pie (grain-free!)


I am officially a licensed real estate agent in the state of New Jersey!  Ok not "officially", I'm going to get fingerprinted later today then my broker will send in all my forms and such, however I'm not counting those technicalities.  Unless I'm an ex-murderer that I'm unaware of when I get fingerprinted, I'm in!  I passed my pre-licensing course and state exam so the hard part is over.   All that's left to do is learn how to sell houses :P  I feel that is the fun part anyways, so I'm very much looking forward to it.  If you are reading this thinking "I don't give a damn about your life, tell me about that GORGEOUS tomato pie", that's fine!  Let's talk food.



My tomatoes have been coming in strong the past few weeks, and I have been up to my elbows in beautiful ripe, heirloom tomatoes just screaming to be devoured.  BLT's are a staple around here, as well as a simple tomato salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  This pie has been in the back of my mind from the moment I picked the first ripe tomato, however I haven't quite had the the time to mess around in the kitchen with a recipe until recently.  I dreamed of a creamy, ricotta-based pie with a garlic-herb grain-free crust, encrusted with multiple varieties of sweet heirloom tomatoes.  The ricotta filling was pretty easy for me to throw together, as were the luscious heirloom tomato slices, however the crust was giving me issues.  What did I want to use to make a believable buttery, salty crust that didn't involve flour?!

Zucchini obviously!  I can't believe I've never tried making a crust out of zucchini before, it's brilliant and so, so good.  First I thought about making a cauliflower crust, however making cauliflower crusts is time consuming and frankly a pain in the ass.  I wanted instant satisfaction with this pie so I had no desire to slave away four hours, even if I knew the result would be delicious.  I also didn't have a cauliflower on hand and my friend just dropped off giant yellow zucchini from her garden.  When life gives you zucchini, make grain-free crust.  Am I right?!


So I shredded the zucchini, added some eggs, seasonings, fresh herbs, coconut flour, and mozzarella and shaped it in the bottom of a pie pan before throwing in the oven.  Five minutes into cooking the crusts I knew I made the right decision.  The smell from the oven was incredible! The rest of the pie came together easily.  It was really fun adding the tomato slices, I felt like I was making a work of art.  I sliced up a black krim, orange stripe, brandywine pink, Rutgers, and sweet plum when making this.  You can use ANY variety of heirloom here.

It was love at first bite.  This might be my favorite recipe I've made all summer, and that's saying something because my dairy-free, sugar-free mocha frappuccino is near and dear to my heart. However this pie is out of this world good.  There are so many complex flavors working in harmony, and it truly tastes like summer with every bite.  Nothing screams summer like super ripe tomatoes, and when presented in this visually stunning dish along with the perfect flavors of creamy ricotta and salty pecorino romano, you will want to eat the whole thing yourself!  The good thing is this recipe makes 2 pies, so you can have one tonight, and sleep easy knowing you have one for tomorrow as well :)  Have a fantastic Thursday, and for goodness sakes, make this pie!!!


Heirloom Tomato Ricotta Pie

makes 2 pies

For the crust:

4 cups grated zucchini
2 free-range eggs
4 oz grated mozzarella
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450 F, with the oven rack in the middle position.  Lightly grease two12" pie pan with pasture raised butter or oil of choice.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and chives.  Add the zucchini.  Add the coconut flour and mozzarella, and mix until combined.  Spoon the batter evenly between the two pie pans and gently press into the bottom of the pan, until the entire bottom is evenly covered with the mixture.  Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown and the sides begin to crisp.

For the filling:

2 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta
4 free-range eggs
1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
black pepper, to taste

Heirloom tomatoes, sliced thin

Directions:
Beat the eggs and add the ricotta, whisking until fully incorporated. Add the pecorino romano cheese, herbs, salt, and pepper.  Whisk to blend.  Spoon the filling evenly on top of the cooked pie crusts.   Sprinkle the filling with fresh chopped basil, then top with the heirloom tomato slices.  Sprinkle some additional pecorino romano cheese on top of the sliced tomatoes before putting in the oven.

Bake for 30-35 minutes at 450 F (making sure the oven rack is in the middle position), or until the cheese begins to bubble and the edges turn brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.