Seared Polenta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes & Pesto

Seared cornmeal polenta medallions with slow roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes, homemade arugula pesto, and crème fraîche. Pairs wonderfully with a SIP Certified Pinot Noir. 
A Jerry James Stone Recipe


Appetizer, Red, Vegetarian, Yellow


  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 1 18-ounce polenta tube
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • ½ cup baby arugula, stems removed
  • ¼ cup fresh Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Pinch of salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tsp milk
Jump to instructions
Yields 6
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes


  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  • Add 1 pound tomatoes to a quarter-sized baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Top with ¾ teaspoon sea salt. Shake the pan back and forth to roll tomatoes to coat.
  • Roast tomatoes for 2 hours, stirring a few times. Tomates can be made up to a few days in advance.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 10” cast iron skillet over a medium heat.
  • Cut an 18-ounce tube of polenta into 1-inch medallions. Add medallions to the skillet and cover with a splatter guard. Sear polenta on each side for about 10 minutes, until crispy and dark brown around the edges.
  • While the polenta is searing, make the arugula pesto. Puree ½ cup arugula, ¼ cup Parmesan , and ¼ cup olive oil until thin, adding more oil if needed. Add a pinch of salt or more to taste. Careful not to over salt. Let stand and taste before adding more.
  • Thin out 2 tablespoons of crème fraîche with 1 teaspoon of milk.
  • When polenta is seared, turn off heat and add tomatoes to skillet, and remove from heat. Drizzle with creme fraiche and pesto and serve.