Matthew Locricchio is one of the best chefs I know. We have happy memories of a few days spent with him and his husband Richard at their former weekend home in Stuyvesant in the Hudson Valley, visiting the farmers’ market, pottering around antique shops and then going home in time for Matthew to cook up a storm in the kitchen.
Matthew has written a series of award-winning cookery books for youngsters. I bought one for our niece some years ago then promptly acquired several more for myself. This recipe is from Teen Cuisine and it’s one I’ve returned to time and again. It’s a bit like a quiche, but without the pastry and cream. It’s genius – I wish I’d invented it.
Matthew's Tomato and Cheese Pie
1/2 tbsp salted butter
2 tbsp plain dried breadcrumbs
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
4-5 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
4-5 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
2 large ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 large eggs
About 75g grated parmesan or cheddar (or a mix of the two)
1/2 tspn salt
1/4 tspn freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4 and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Using all the butter, grease the sides and bottom of a 10-inch cake pan.
Sprinkle the crumbs over the bottom of the pan, shaking and tilting until they cover the whole surface. Carefully tap out any excess and reserve.
Heat a heavy-based pan over a medium-low heat and add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Sauté for five or six minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the parsley and tomatoes and cook for another five minutes.
Break the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly. Add the grated cheese, basil, salt and pepper.
Turn off the heat under the tomatoes and set the cake pan next to the stove. Spoon the tomato mixture evenly across the bottom of the cake pan.
Pour the beaten egg mixture over the tomatoes and sprinkle the reserved breadcrumbs over the top.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes, until the crumbs are browned on top. Place the pie on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. To remove from the tin, run a knife around the edge to loosen it from the sides.
Place a serving dish that is larger than the baking pan on top and using oven gloves, turn the pan and serving dish upside down. The pie should slip out onto the serving dish. If not, repeat the steps above a second time.
Cut into wedges and serve. I think it’s best eaten warm but it makes good picnic food too.