I vacillated for a long time over whether to follow through with my plan to use hoja santa in this. The other elements--green tomatoes, onions, bacon and goat cheese--are easy to see together (if you've been reading a bunch of savory green tomato pie recipes anyway) and there was a fair chance of ruining the whole thing with a wild card like hoja santa. If I only had to answer to myself and didn't need material for the blog, I probably would have backed down and just thrown in a little oregano instead. But that wouldn't be worth writing about would it? So, in that spirit, here goes...
2 thick slices bacon, chopped
2 green tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 leaves hoja santa, deveined and chopped
salt and pepper
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2-4 Tablespoons cold water
1. Blend flour and salt in a food processor. Add butter and process until incorporated and the mixture has a crumbly texture. Blend in water until the dough just comes together.
2. Dump dough out onto a work surface. Form it into a ball, split into two, flatten and put into refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Meanwhile, put bacon in a medium cast iron pan and cook over medium heat until well rendered, browned and crispy (stirring as necessary). Remove bacon to a paper towel.
4. Add green tomato and onion to bacon fat in pan. Salt lightly to draw out juices and cook until tomato starts to soften and onion becomes translucent. Add hoja santa and cook briefly to wilt and blend flavors. There's plenty of cooking later so don't overdo it now. Remove to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator until the dough is finished chilling.
5. Mix cheese and bacon into tomato mixture.
6. Take one of the dough rounds out of the refrigerator and, on a well-floured surface, roll out into 9-10 inches diameter circle. Drape the dough into a pie plate, optionally, to make it easier to fill. Fill with tomato mixture and fold excess dough over top. Spray exposed dough with olive oil and bake for 40 minutes until tomatoes have dissolved, the cheese has melted and the crust is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes and serve.
The flavors here have pulled together nicely. Bacon and onions are a natural pairing. Goat cheese makes perfect sense with them. The green tomatoes add an almost citrusy tartness and the hoja santa an odd herbal aromaticity. It strikes an odd note just through its unfamiliarity. I'm still trying to decide if I like it. It's not bad, but is it an improvement over, say, oregano? ... Upon consideration, I think that when there's just a hint, it blends nicely with the green tomato flavor and counterpoints the smokiness. When there's a lot, it's weird and distracting. It's good, but I should have used less. One leaf would have done it. Two did seem like a lot, but with ten in the pack, I thought maybe I could use it more as a vegetable component than an herb. It's really too strongly flavored for that, though, at least in this sort of application. Maybe in a salad, though.