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Sautéed Yellow Pear Tomatoes with Arugula Pesto and Feta

Buttery toasted walnuts and peppery arugula meld with the distinctive flavor of basil to create a bold version of pesto that coats a quick sauté of yellow pear tomatoes. Crumbled feta cheese lends its tangy richness to help bring all the tastes together.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs. walnuts
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • Leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 cup packed baby arugula leaves
  • 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 lb. yellow pear tomatoes
  • 2 oz. feta cheese

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

Pour the walnuts onto a rimmed baking sheet. Toast the nuts in the oven until they turn a shade or two darker and are fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Pour the nuts onto a plate to cool.

Finely grate the zest from the lemon (reserve the fruit for another use).

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the toasted walnuts, lemon zest and garlic, and pulse just to combine. Add the basil and arugula leaves and process until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour in 4 Tbs. of the olive oil. Continue to process until the mixture is moist and well blended but still slightly chunky. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt and sauté until the tomatoes are warmed through and their skins are just beginning to split, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pesto.

Transfer the tomatoes to a serving dish and crumble the cheese over the top. Serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables, by Jodi Liano (Oxmoor House, 2008).