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Peanut and Tomato "Pesto"

Photo: Southern Peanut Growers
From: Executive chef Fortunato Nicotra, Felidia Restaurant, NYC. Yield: 4 to 6 servings. The recipe won Grand Prize in this year’s Southern Peanut Growers Chefs’ Recipe Contest.

2½ cups cherry tomatoes
16 large basil leaves
1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed
½ cup peanuts, toasted
½ tsp. salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Rinse the cherry tomatoes and basil; pat dry. Drop tomatoes into a food processor bowl, followed by the basil, garlic, peanuts and ½ tsp. salt. Process for about a minute to form a fine puree; scrape bowl and process again. With the machine still running, pour in the olive oil in a slow stream to emulsify into a thick pesto.

Serving suggestion: Use peanut and tomato “pesto” like traditional pesto in dishes such as spaghetti and seafood. For the dish, toss cooked pasta with half the pesto, then top with breadcrumbs, chopped toasted peanuts, chives, the remaining pesto and seafood such as calamari, lobster and shrimp poached in olive oil.

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