Seared Tomatoes with Arugula Pesto and Feta

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 4

You may not think to cook tomatoes whole, but this is a great recipe to keep in mind during the height of tomato season. Here, multicolored cherry and pear tomatoes are sautéed until just softened so that they explode with fresh flavor when eaten. This salad is delicious with some crusty bread from the bakery.


For the pesto:

  • 3 Tbs. walnuts
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • Leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 cup (1 oz./30 g) packed baby arugula leaves
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the tomatoes:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) multicolor cherry and pear tomatoes
  • 2 oz. (60 g) feta cheese


Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).

To make the pesto, spread the walnuts on 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. Transfer the nuts to a plate to cool.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the walnuts, lemon zest and garlic and pulse just to combine. Add the basil and arugula leaves and process until coarsely chopped. With the machine running, slowly pour in 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, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

In a sauté pan or fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. 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 from the heat and stir in the pesto.

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

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cook Good Food (Weldon Owen, 2013)

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