spring carrot reunion


Here's a simple, unusual, and surprisingly healthful appetizer you can really only make this time of year. It depends on finding really fresh, young spring carrots, the kind which are only 5" to 7" long and 1/2" in diameter, and very sweet. And you'll probably have to grow them yourself or get them from your local farmers' market (I went to the PSU farmers' market), because you need them to have nice, fresh, dry, carrot tops because you're going to eat those carrot tops. Yes, really. You'll even like them.

Anyway, don't try this with supermarket carrots, you'll just taste the bitterness of regret and wilted carrot tops. Taste the carrot top leaves. They should taste grassy, not bitter, kind of like Italian parsley.

This recipe is the "carrot reunion" because we'll be making a "pesto" from the carrot tops and then serving it with the carrots. Note that the pesto is actually a brighter, more attractive green than it looks in the picture.

Here's the recipe, roughly. Do use your judgement here. Particularly, green garlic can vary a lot in size and strength, so don't use so much it overwhelms everything else.

Spring Carrot Reunion

2 bunches of freshly picked young spring carrots, with greens
2 slices stale white bread
1-4 stalks green garlic, depending on size/strength
1 oz (1/4 cup) pecorino romano cheese
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)
ground pepper
food processor, Vitamix, or food grinder

Separate the tops from the carrots, and wash and dry both carrots and tops.

Roughly chop the green garlic. Dampen the bread and tear it into small pieces (should be around 2/3 cup). Dice or crumble the romano. Put all of these in the food processor. Roughly chop the carrot tops and put them on top. Pour the 1/3 cup olive oil over them, followed by 1/4 water. Add around 1/4 tsp salt and the same amount freshly ground pepper. Add the lemon juice.

Puree the mixture. If it's too dry to puree, add more olive oil and water, 1 Tbs each at a time until the blade moves smoothly and can create a smooth puree. Taste, add salt or lemon juice if you feel it needs more of either.

Put the carrot top "pesto" in a bowl, and serve with the young carrots for dipping.