Best South Carolina Tomato

What is the best South Carolina tomato?  A Salute to Goliath!  Slice ’em, stack ’em, eat ’em right out of the garden.  Goliath is South Carolina’s number one pick of the summer season. One Goliath tomato can weigh up to 4 pounds – just one of them! If you think you don’t like tomatoes, you haven’t tried a real one.

What is a Goliath tomato?

Flavorful and sweet with a great yield of 4-inch fruit, this is one of the best early tomatoes.  They flourish in our summertime heat and humidity and just one slice will go across a nice slice of white bread. All you need is a little salt and pepper and a generous amount of Duke’s mayonnaise.

Now you can bite into the best ‘mater sammich’ you ever ate!

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Well, I must use Duke’s because we southern girls are obsessed with it. We are fiercely loyal to our special mayonnaise.  It’s a matter of taste and tradition.  Duke’s remains a sugar-free condiment and its high ratio of egg yolks makes it rich, creamy, and less likely to separate when heated.  There’s a slight taste of tanginess from the vinegar and paprika.  Its texture is thicker than others and almost custard-like instead of gelatinous like most other brands.  This is why it tastes homemade.


Duke’s- It’s Got Twang!

Only Duke’s has it – that indescribably Southern – something that elevates food from merely good to downright transcendent. I remember a conversation one time years ago with chef Sean Brock of Charleston’s Husk fame.  “People assume I grew up with it but I didn’t actually discover it until sometime around 2001 when I moved to Richmond.  Chef Walter Bundy wouldn’t shut up about it, and I was like, ‘What’s the big deal?”  I realized at that moment it was like a religion.  And there was something different about it.”


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Eugenia Duke

Duke’s mayonnaise is all about a lady named Eugenia Duke who started selling sandwiches made with her homemade mayonnaise to soldiers stationed near Greenville, S.C.  By 1919 she was selling over 10,000 sandwiches a day – and that was a hundred years ago.  Women in those days were not often successful and profitable entrepreneurs. She deserves to be recognized!

How to Eat a Mater Sammich

Somehow nothing quite compares to a sandwich made with white bread slathered with a half-inch of “Dukes, lots of salt and black pepper eaten over the kitchen sink. 

This is how it’s done lest the juice running down your arms reach the kitchen floor.

 Dan’s Tomato Pie

Not satisfied just eating sandwiches over the kitchen sink, I went across the street to Holly’s house and we made tomato pie.  Her husband, Dan, had never had a tomato pie and when I learned he was growing some of the most fabulous tomatoes in all of Beaufort County, I knew he had to have one. I always purchase tomatoes at Dempsey Farms on St. Helena Island, but in this case we used Dan’s tomatoes.

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We started by cooking some bacon.  Once cooled we crumbled it into the mayonnaise, basil, and cheese mixture. After blind baking the crust, we placed the tomatoes inside.  The tomatoes had been sliced earlier, salted, and drained on paper towels. Otherwise, you can end up with a watery, soggy mess.

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We next covered it all over with the mayonnaise and cheese mixture, popped it into a 350-degree oven, and 35 minutes later – Voila!

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Now you know just how simple it is.  It’s just fine if you want to use a store-bought crust.  The main thing is to use farm-fresh, vine-ripened Carolina tomatoes.

  Dan’s Tomato Pie

   1 9- inch pie crust

3-4 medium tomatoes, sliced

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 basil leaves, chopped (extra leaves for the top)

 ½ cup Duke’s mayonnaise

2 cups extra sharp cheddar or any cheese you love

 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled into the mayonnaise 

Add any seasoning you love like Italian, parsley, chives, garlic, or extra basil.


Sprinkle ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper onto the tomatoes. Toss gently and lay them on a clean dishtowel or paper towels for 30 minutes.

  Finally, pat them dry with another clean towel.  This is the key to preventing unwanted water in your pie. Let them stand for 30 minutes and drain. Salting will draw out the juices and also concentrate the flavor.

Blind bake the pie crust for 10 minutes or until lightly browned at 350 degrees.  Remove from the oven.  Line sliced tomatoes in the crust in a double layer, slightly overlapping.

 Sprinkle tomatoes with a little more salt, and pepper.  Combine mayonnaise, crumbled bacon, and cheese, and spread the mixture over the tomatoes all the way to the edges of the crust. Garnish with a slice of tomato on the top in the middle of the pie. Bake for 35 minutes until nice and bubbly.  Cool on a wire rack and sprinkle with a few basil leaves for garnish.

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