This tomato dish is stunning in its presentation. Akin to a classic French tart tatin, when you turn this dish out onto a serving plate, you will bow to the applause.
Farm stands and roadside sellers peddling fresh-grown vegetables and fruits dot the byways of Acadiana this time of year. Whenever possible, I love to stop and buy direct from the hands of the farmer – the ultimate in farm to table. But, it’s equally reassuring to know that I have two very good produce markets that I can depend on to have what I need.
The Guidry family out of Arnaudville runs one of the largest produce operations in Louisiana. They are a stellar example of hard-working Cajuns growing their business in the wholesale and retail produce market by developing relationships built on trust and friendship.
Their employees have that same philosophy, and that is why I drive across town to see P.W. Albert at the Kevin Guidry Produce Market on Moss Street in Upper Lafayette. This gentleman knows fruits and vegetables. At various stages of his career, he has been a grower, buyer and now, a seller. Semi-retired, P.W. works because he loves to meet people who share his love for the regional crops of South Louisiana.
He is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge and is willing to share it with anyone who shares his passion. Ruston peaches are hard to come by, the melons are hybrids grown 20 to the vine these days and small family farming is a dying art in these parts — P.W. knows it all.
But, it’s the huge bin of just ripe Creole tomatoes that both he and I are excited about this Saturday morning. P.W. explains that Creoles are grown most prevalently along the river parishes of Plaquemines and St. Bernard as well as in Tangipahoa. The soil conditions in South Louisiana, especially those parishes, are perfect for growing that indescribable flavor and sweetness of Creoles.
Liuzza Farms near Hammond delivered this batch of Creoles, and I am anxious to try out an adaptation of a recipe I came across recently.
The dish is an upside-down savory version of the ever-popular pineapple cake and my Creole tomatoes along with some green onion sausage would be the prime ingredient of this one-dish dinner. My herb garden is producing basil and rosemary in abundance so with my basket of Creoles, dinner is just a slice and dice away.
Now, don’t confuse this dish with a pizza, not even a deep dish Chicago pizza. This is less about tomato sauce or cheese, and more about the fresh Creole tomatoes and herbs.
- 1 package frozen puff pastry sheets
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1½ cups bulk Cajun green onion sausage, crumbled
- 1 medium onion, sliced thin
- 1 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup basil leaves, stems removed
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1 cup Roquefort blue cheese
- ½ cup half and half
- ½ cup diced green onion tops
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator.
- In a round cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add the oil. Add the bulk sausage and cook until brown, breaking it up into small chunks. Remove and drain on paper towel.
- Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the grease and add the onions and fennel to the skillet. Sauté over medium heat until they start to brown and then add the rosemary and garlic. Continue cooking on low until all is combined. Remove to a platter and keep warm.
- In the same skillet, pour off any remaining grease and wipe clean. Add the olive oil and spread around the pan. Place the sliced rounds of tomato on the bottom of the skillet in a circular pattern overlapping slightly. Continue until the bottom is covered with one layer of tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Add the basil leaves and place evenly around the tomatoes. Spread the sausage pieces evenly on top of the basil and tomatoes and then add the onion and fennel mixture, spreading evenly.
- Roll out the puff pastry on a cutting board and join the pieces together being careful to smooth out the seams. Place the large piece of puff pastry over the round skillet and push the edges in to fit the mixture. Trim the edges so that it fits evenly, crimping in the sides.
- On the stovetop over medium heat, cook the tomato mixture for 5 minutes. Place the entire pan in the oven and continue baking until the pastry turns golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle the pastry evenly with grated parmesan cheese and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the half and half in a saucepan over low heat. Crumble the blue cheese into the pot and stir on simmer until the cheese begins to melt, about 5 minutes. Remove the cheese sauce to the side and keep warm.
- Run a knife around the edges of the skillet dislodging the puff pastry from the edges of the cast-iron pan. Place a large round serving platter over the top of the skillet and invert quickly. The tomato pie should come out easily.
- Slice in wedges and pour over the blue cheese sauce. Sprinkle with the diced green onion tops.
YOUR SEAT AT THE TABLE: If you like this story and recipe then accept my personal invitation to subscribe by entering your email at the bottom or top right of this page. It’s quick and painless. You will receive an email alert and be the first to see when new stories and recipes are added. Thanks, George.