The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook
by Tracey Medeiros & Christy Colasurdo
Photographs © Oliver Parini
Tracey Medeiros’ first two cookbooks, “Dishing Up Vermont” and “The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook,” focused on Vermont farmers and chefs who were part of the farm-to-table movement in their state. In “The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook” she moves south to Connecticut and partners with Christy Colasurdo, a former Special Sections Editor at New York Magazine. Together, they comb the state in much the same way Medeiros presented Vermont.
It’s a travelogue, specifically showcasing farmers, purveyors, and restaurants/chefs. A personalized vignette precedes a contributed recipe(s) about the the 158 Connecticut farmers/owners/bakeries/restaurants. Sources are so varied: from Massaro Community Farm and Farah’s Farm to Winvian Relais & Chateaux, The Connecticut Beer Trail, Mountaintop Mushrooms and Fat Cat Pie Co.
Equally varied are the recipes. Eggs “Manolo Blahnik Style” (brought a giggle), Duck and Foie Gras Poutine, Maple Bread Pudding, Curried Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Honey and Peas a la Francaise (from Connecticut resident Jacques Pepin). It’s no surprise to see such a variety from this vast list of contributors.
This book makes me want to engage with all of the resources. Go to Connecticut, book in hand, rent a car and explore. But, before you go, you may want get to your local farmers market and then try this layered Heirloom Tomato Pie.
Heirloom Tomato Pie
Photography © by Oliver Parini
Yield: 8 servings
At Dish (Dish Bar & Grill), the heady, ripe heirloom tomatoes for this recipe come from the gardens of farmer David Zemelsky, of Starlight Gardens, Durham. This dish is the quintessential midsummer crowd-pleaser, great when there’s a bumper crop of ripe heirlooms from your garden or at your local farmers’ market.
5 medium-large mixed heirloom tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), tough cores removed and cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small cues
4 tablespoons ice water or as needed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups (about 5 ounces) shredded Fontina cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line one or two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. To make the tomatoes: Place the tomatoes on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with oil and salt to taste, and bake for 2 hours. Set aside to cool.
3. Meanwhile, to make the crust: Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. With a pastry blender or fork, cut the butter into the flour until just crumbly. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix until the dough just comes together. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a disk. Wrap the disk in a plastic wrap and refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the disk into a 12-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate or 9-inch tart pan with 2-inch sides and removable bottom. Using your fingers, press back into the crust any pieces of dough that ay have fallen off. Trim the excess dough just at the level of the edge of the pie plate. With a fork, pierce the bottom of the crust. Place the crust in the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the piecrust on a baking sheet, line the dough with foil, and fill with dried beans. Bake the crust until the edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and continue to bake until the crust is golden brow all over, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
6. To add the fillings: Increase the temperature to 375°F. Gently pat the tomatoes dry with paper towels. Arrange a layer of the tomato slices, overlapping as needed, in the bottom of the pie shell. Spread a think, even layer of the mayonnaise over the top; the sprinkle evenly with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the basil and about 1/2 cup of the cheese. Repeat the layering with the remaining ingredients, ending with any leftover cheese.
7. Bake until the tomatoes, cheese, and the crust are golden brown, about 1 hour. Let rest for 1 hour. Garnish with basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cut into slices and serve warm.
Note: This pie can also be made using a double crust.