Summer’s Harvest: Maria’s Tomato Pie from the Isle of Crete

Tomato Pie as made in Loutro, a village on the Greek Isle of Crete

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We all know how the taste and smell of a well-loved food can evoke memories of a sometimes distant place and time.  For my friend and blog contributor Robert Starkey, Maria’s tomato pie brings to the present memories of the happiest time in his life, when he lived with his partner Rob in the magical village of Loutro on the south coast of the Greek Isle of Crete. This simple pie is the essense of summer, with well-cooked vegetables combining to build and concentrate flavor. Bob explains how he happened to obtain this until-then-secret recipe on his blog here. If you have extra zucchinis, eggplant and tomatoes from your garden, this is the recipe for you (full recipe after the jump).

MARIA’S TOMATO PIE (from the village of Loutro, Crete)

2 zucchinis
2 small eggplants
( zucchinis and eggplants should be same size)
1 green bell pepper
8 very ripe tomatoes (about 2.5 pounds)
parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste

Cut zucchinis, eggplants and peppers into very small pieces. Sauté in pan with a little olive oil. Cut tomatoes into small pieces and add to mixture in pan. Reduce heat to very low and simmer until most of the moisture is gone.

Remove from heat and cool. Add grated parmesan cheese (enough for flavor, but this is not a cheese dish). Original recipe contained Greek Mizithra cheese.

Pastry:

1 cup butter
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Add water as needed to make dough

Press into large springform pan making thick raised edges (or press out into a square on a cookie sheet, making thick raised edges, covering a little more than half a cookie sheet).
Pour tomato mixture into center leaving crust exposed at edge.
Bake 400º F until crust is done (brown)

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2 responses

  1. Hi,

    This looks wonderful but my understanding of macrobiotics is there are certain foods that are avoided like the plaque, some being, tomatoes and eggplant. Also, what about the butter? From my understanding, there are no dairy products allowed either.

    I am just curious because I would sure like to think I am mistaken about all these foods I have not been eating because this looks absolutely divine!

    Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. Gina, There is no short answer to your question, and I hope to talk about this interesting topic in more depth later. But let me say a couple of things. First of all, while I have a long-time grounding in macrobiotics, not everything I post here is necessarily to be taken as being strickly “macrobiotic.” My foremost goal is to promote healthy, home cooked, fresh food, and most of it will be vegetarian and vegan because that’s what I’m most interested in. Secondly, macrobiotic foods operate on two levels. One would be food for people who are healing from illnesses, this would be more restrictive according to each individual’s needs. The other would be food for generally healthy people–that’s the level of cooking I will most often write about here. Thirdly, there are foods which are fun to eat ocassionally, but which you might find you wouldn’t include in your everyday diet. Fourthly, sometimes I like to honor tradition. This tomato pie was authentically made with butter, so I posted the recipe that way. Of course if you wish to avoid butter, you could use a quality vegan substitute. Fifthly, if macrobiotics is about anything, I believe it is about allowing each person to have the free will to decide, creatively, how to live one’s life, including having the free will to decide what to eat. In my view, life is too short to be lived by a set of rules. It is to be experienced. Each of us must discover what works for us. A perfectly ripe, organic, in season tomato is a wondrous thing! And I say, why not enjoy it–unless you have a condition which eating tomatoes makes worse. I’m not advocating making tomatoes the core of anyone’s diet, but ocassionally, why not?

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