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Cotton House Hotel Remaining Open, Chef Cole Ellis' Fresh Tomato Basil Pie


CLEVELAND, Miss. - Cotton House Hotel in Cleveland is following all of the CDC guidelines during this crisis and remaining open for guests to rest their head while feeling safe.

The measures they are taking to ensure safety:

- Face shield for all employees

- Frequently sanitizing public spaces

- Enforcing social distancing among staff and guests

- Use of hospital grade disinfectants to clean guest rooms between visits

Located in downtown Cleveland, in the heart of the Delta on the Highway 61 corridor, Cotton House is steps away from Delta State University, Dockery Plantation, Mississippi Grammy Museum and a short-drive from other iconic destinations along the Mississippi Blues Trail.


Staying true to its roots, Cotton House evokes the celebratory spirit and the welcoming, communal nature of the hardworking, hard-playing people and heritage of the area.

Cotton House offers two on-site dining concepts, Delta Meat Market and rooftop bar Bar Fontaine by James Beard Award Nominated Chef Cole Ellis. The Cleveland staple, Delta Meat Market, is a premium grocer of specialty meats, cheeses and artisan goods and a casual, full-service restaurant serving up internationally influenced dishes deeply rooted in the Southern culinary traditions of the Mississippi Delta. Bar Fontaine, Ellis’ newest concept offers modern, European-inspired small plates using locally sourced ingredients and reflecting an interplay of cultures. Bar Fontaine is the only rooftop bar in the Delta and a picturesque spot to catch the sunset and relax after a day of sightseeing. Cotton House also serves as a one-of-a-kind backdrop for corporate events and weddings. The hotel features over 2,800 square feet of space encompassing three distinctive venues.

Cotton House is the Delta’s newest place to celebrate friends and family, food and drink, a good story and music for the soul. It’s the perfect place to rest your head offering guests a true, authentic experience.

Everyone knows the history of the tomato basil pie, with a recipe dating at least as far back as 1877. It's the classic summer dish with buttermilk, fresh basil leaves, mayonnaise, freshly ground black pepper, cheese and tomatoes. James Beard Award nominated Chef Cole Ellis of Delta Meat Market takes this dish very seriously - sourcing fresh tomatoes from the Mississippi Delta and making sure it tastes just right to serve daily in the restaurant. Below is the full recipe for chef Cole's Tomato-Basil Pie which is a true staple in Cleveland.

Tomato-Basil Pie

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling

1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 cup ice water

1-1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

4 cups fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

6 scallions, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 medium tomato, halved and cut into 1/4-inch thick pieces, or 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes


Make the dough: Using a food processor (or a large bowl and a whisk), pulse together

flour and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Add the unsalted butter cubes and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. If using a mixing bowl, use your fingers to work butter into the flour.


While pulsing the machine, add the ice water and pulse until the dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed in your hand, about five pulses (if using a mixing bowl, use a wooden spoon to stir the ice water into the flour).


Place a long piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board, turn the dough out onto the plastic wrap, flatten the dough with the heel of your hand into a 1-inch-thick disc, then wrap with the plastic. Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to three days.


Adjust an oven rack to the bottom position and another rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured cutting board. Flour the top of the dough, then use the rolling pin to roll the dough into a 14-inch circle that is about 1/4-inch thick. Carefully roll the dough up and onto the rolling pin, and use the pin to transfer the dough to the tart pan, fitting it into the bottom and sides of the pan and pinching off any excess dough. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.


Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator. Use the fork to prick the bottom of the dough all over, then place a 14-inch sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil into the tart pan. Add enough dried beans or pie weights to weigh the paper down and bake the tart crust on the bottom rack until the edges of the crust are firm and beginning to turn golden, about 15 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and carefully remove the parchment paper or aluminum foil and pie weights. Return the tart to the bottom oven rack and continue to bake until the crust is golden, about 10 to 15 minutes longer.


Meanwhile, make the pie filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayo, buttermilk, large egg, fresh basil, 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, scallions, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.


Pour one-quarter of the pie filling into the tart shell. In a circular, overlapping pattern, arrange the tomato slices


Cover with the rest of the filling and top with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.


Bake on the middle rack until the filling is set and the top of the tart is browned, about 30 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and cool at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving warm or at room temperature.

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