I’m not a big fan of summer temperatures, especially tropical Louisiana temperatures, but the advent of Creole tomatoes makes the heat and humidity bearable. Yes, ya’ll, it is tomato season – woohoo! I’m eating tomatoes at every meal, even for snacks. I add them to my scrambled eggs at breakfast, enjoy a big fat slice on a piece of wasa with a think slice of New Orleans Chisesi ham for lunch, and in a tomato-basil-onion salad at dinner. The husband even loves tomatoes, well, tomato salad, anyway.
Today’s post, however, takes the delicious Creole into decadent, cheesey, creamy territory. The onions, tomatoes, and basil meld into succulent flavors and the cheese topping – WOW – it will knock your socks off! Now I know that the majority of you all do not have ready access to Creole tomatoes, but fear not, farm-grown, local tomatoes will substitute just fine. I actually ate a piece for breakfast, didn’t even warm it up, and it was delicious; however, to fully experience the deliciousness of this recipe, eat it warm.
Cheesey Creole Tomato Phyllo Pie Squares
1/2 lb phyllo sheets, defrosted
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 large tomatoes, seeded and sliced into 1/4″ slices
1/2 large white onion, sliced into half-moons
1/4 cup basil, chiffonade cut
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a combination of sharp cheddar and pepper jack)
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
1/8-1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or 1 serrano pepper, seeded and finely minced, both are optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice your tomatoes into 1/4″ slices and remove seeds, place onto paper towels to help absorb the excess liquid.
*Combine shredded cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan, garlic, and cayenne or minced serrano pepper in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer until well combined; set aside.
Brush melted butter onto the bottom and sides of an 8×8 baking dish.
**Layer two sheets of phyllo together and brush with melted butter; repeat with another 2 sheets until you have layered a total of 10 sheets.
Spread half of the onions, 2 tablespoons of the basil and half of the tomatoes; repeat with remaining onions, basil and tomatoes.
Spread cheese mixture onto tomatoes.
Layer another 10 sheets of phyllo following the same process.
Score into squares or diamonds with a very sharp knife.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Allow to cool for 30 minutes before slicing, or chill overnight and slice cold. You can always warm the slices in the oven or microwave.
*You can do this by hand, but it’s easier with the mixer.
**My method is unconventional, as usually you layer one sheet, brush with butter and layer another; however, my method doesn’t negatively effect the final outcome of the dish, and you use less butter.