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Tomatoes With English Pesto on Toasted Focaccia Recipe

Excerpted from ‘Bliss on Toast' by Prue Leith

spinner image tomatoes and pesto on toast on plate
Haarala Hamilton

I think I prefer this English version of pesto even to the classic Italian basil one. It’s lighter and more versatile. It’s good with pasta, on pizza, or just as flavoring for salad dressing, or indeed to serve with grilled chicken or lamb chops. Just about anything really!

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  • 2 squares of focaccia
  • 4 to 6 big slices of ripe tomato

For the pesto:

  • 3 Tbsp walnut pieces
  • Bunch of parsley (about 1 oz.)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ⅓  cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 5 Tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400° F. Put the walnuts on a baking sheet and into the hot oven for 5 minutes to toast. Or cook them in the microwave for 5 minutes, giving them a stir halfway through.

Chop the stalks of the parsley, which have a lot of flavor you don’t want to waste, with a sharp knife. (Chopping in the machine can result in stringy bits — better to start by hand.) Put them, the parsley leaves and garlic into a blender and chop briefly. Then add the Cheddar and walnuts and blend again. At this point you will need to add the oil to loosen the paste. When everything is in, blitz to a smooth-ish sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Toast or broil the focaccia pieces to warm them through, then spread with the pesto and overlap the tomato slices on top.

Tip: The pesto will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge if stored in a jar with a little more oil on top to keep the air out. But it will lose its brilliant color, sadly.


Cook With Prue

spinner image book cover with grilled cheese on yellow dish; words read prue leith bliss on toast
Bloomsbury Publishing

Two more recipes from Bliss on Toast for AARP members to try:

Kale, Chile, Burrata and Tapenade on Sourdough

“I like to eat this while the kale is still hot, as I like the contrast with the cold creamy burrata.”

Apricots, Almonds & Devonshire Clotted Cream on an English Muffin

“This is the most divine, indulgent and irresistible dessert — don’t skimp on the cream or jam.”

Read about Prue Leith's latest cookbook, Bliss on Toast.


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