Corn, Tomato, and Zucchini Pie


This recipe wasn't supposed to make it to the blog. In fact this Pie came about because I had, with much anticipation, been planning to make Caramelized Corn with Tomatoes and Bacon (!!!) a summer-y, American side dish meant to showcase the season's tomato and corn, and the bacon, well that goes without saying. Bacon, as we all know, bestows its signature smokiness and saltiness and richness upon every ingredient it touches, and makes them all the better for it. In fact I'd estimate it makes everything aleast 10 times more delicious.

But when I was ready to make my Caramelized Corn with Tomatoes and Bacon (!!!) I couldn't find any bacon. This might seem obvious as I'm in Italy, where bacon isn't so common, but my local Carrefour supermarket actually carries good old American-style sliced bacon, they just seemed to be out of it (or perhaps hadn't bothered to order it lately?! I don't imagine Italians are as fond of it as I am). I rummaged among the mortadella, the guanciale, the prosciutto, but it wasn't them I wanted, it was bacon I was in search of, and it was nowhere to be found. I toyed with the idea of substituting pancetta, but I knew it wouldn't be the same thing, and plus it didn't feel right to put pancetta with corn or butter or in an American dish at all. I moped briefly in the cold-cuts section of the supermarket and then rallied. 

I had already found the other ingredients needed for my recipe -- the corn, tomatoes, and basil -- and I did have half an onion and a zucchini kicking around the fridge, waiting to be used, and fate would have it that I had some leftover sour cream, the usual large quantity of butter, and some newly purchased whole wheat flour at home, too. The result was this improvised, supremely Summer-y Corn, Tomato, and Zucchini Pie, or flaky, buttery, whole-wheat pastry wrapped around candy-like caramelized onions, juicy tomatoes, sweet corn, emerald green coins of zucchini, and lots of melted cheese, with a bit flowery basil thrown in for good measure. Its a cross between this Cherry Tomato Crostata and this Three-Cheese Zucchini Tart, one of those savory pies I love so much that wears many hats, excellent as a starter, a light lunch, or on your brunch menu, able to accommodate whatever veggies are in season or whatever you happen to have hanging out in your fridge. The leftovers were superb, too.

I'll be honest: I didn't even miss the bacon. 

I'll be back in a few days with some Italian recipes to balance out all the corn and waffles and sour cream we've been seeing on here lately -- in the meantime, have a good weekend everyone! 

A couple of notes: If you don't have any whole wheat flour, feel free to use (all) all-purpose flour. Use any cheese here you like -- I used mozzarella because its what I had on hand, but Gruyere would also be nice. Adjust the quantities of the vegetables in the filling as you see fit -- if you want more corn, add more corn! Less tomatoes? Add less tomatoes! Note that I made this while my sister was away on vacation and it was just me at home, so I made a smaller pie -- the quantities below serve about 4. If you want a bigger pie, feel free to double the quantities of the crust and filling. Finally, if you aren't up for making the crust from scratch, you could of course always use a store-bought pie crust, but I will say the homemade crust is pretty spectacular and comes together quickly. 

Looking for other savory pies? I've got this Butternut Squash Galette, this Three-Cheese Zucchini Tart, and this Cherry Tomato Crostata, plus this Torta Pasqualina. Looking for other dishes with zucchini, tomatoes, or corn? I've got this Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad, these Stuffed Zucchini, this Tomato Cobbler, this Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil, and these Savory Tomato Shortcakes.

CORN, TOMATO, AND ZUCCHINI PIE

Ingredients for the pie crust:
3/4 cup (98 grams) tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (65 grams) whole wheat flour
8 tablespoons (112 grams) butter, ice cold and cut in to cubes
1/4 cup (about 55 grams) sour cream or full-fat yogurt
1/4 cup (59ml) ice cold water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 egg for the egg wash

Ingredients for the filling:
1/2 large onion
2 tablespoons (28 grams) butter
1 medium zucchini, cut in to rounds and then the rounds cut in half
1/2 cup (100 grams) corn kernels
3/4 cup (about 110 grams) cherry tomatoes, larger ones halved
2 tablespoons of basil, chopped (or more or less to taste)
1 1/4 cups (about 140 grams) grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt

Olive oil, as needed 
Pepper
Basil to garnish

Directions:
To make the crust: Whisk together the flours and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle the cubes of butter over the dough and using a pastry blender (or your fingertips, if you don't have one) cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter and flour mixture. With a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid in until a dough begins to form; be careful to not overwork the dough. If it seems too wet, add more flour a tablespoon at a time. Turn the dough out on to a floured work surface and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

To make the filling: Start with the onions. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet and cook the onion over low heat pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Place the onions in a bowl and set aside. Add the zucchini, corn, and tomatoes to the pan where the onions were along with a little olive oil so they don't stick. Saute the zucchini and tomatoes for about 4-5 minutes, or until they're all slightly softened and the zucchini is light brown (note that the veg will continue to cook in the oven). Add the zucchini, corn, and tomatoes to the bowl with onions. Add the basil and stir to combine. Set the filling aside to let it cool slightly. When cooled, add the cheese and 1/4 teaspoon of salt, plus pepper to taste. Taste the filling and adjust the seasonings accordingly. 

Time to assemble your pie! Once the hour is up, take your dough out of the refrigerator. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 8-inch round. Transfer to an greased baking sheet (wrap the dough around the rolling pin to help you transfer it from counter to baking sheet) Alternatively, if your oven is small like mine and you can't fit a whole baking sheet, you can lay the dough out over a greased 9-inch spring form pan and use that.  

Spread the filling over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit (note that this doesn't have to be perfect -- see my photos). Brush the border of the dough with a beaten egg to make it shiny, and bake in the oven until golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven, and let it cool for a bit. Garnish with extra chopped basil. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm, or room temperature. Makes (1) pie, serving 4 generously.



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