Don’t toss those carrot tops! Turn them into delicious pesto
If it grows together, it goes together.
It’s a nice — if overly simplistic — way of saying that a wine often pairs well with foods produced in the same region its grapes were grown in. Which is why Chianti goes so nicely with Italian food. But this adage also holds true as a guideline for pairing one food with another. Ingredients that are easily produced in the same region often have an affinity for one another.
This philosophy was my inspiration recently when I was deciding how to make carrots a little more interesting. I’d already decided to grill them over low heat until they were just tender and lightly browned. Of course there would be some olive oil, salt and pepper, but I wanted … something more.
That “more” didn’t strike me until I went to the grocer and saw gorgeous bunches of multicolored carrots — all with the greens still attached. If it grows together it goes together … And my “more” was born in the form of a simple, yet assertive and delicious pesto made from the carrot greens. Why toss them when they can be this good?
Grilled carrots with Carrot Top Pesto
1 1/2 pounds carrots with greens attached (about 2 bunches of carrots)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup pine nuts
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
Heat the grill to medium-low.
Trim the greens off the carrots. Discard 1 bunch (or save for another use). Submerge the second bunch of greens in a bowl of cool water. It’s fine to leave a few inches of green stalks at the tops of the carrots.
Pile the carrots on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Rub the carrots so they are evenly coated with oil. Place the carrots on the grill, cover the grill and cook for 10 minutes, turning every 3 minutes, until evenly browned and tender.
Meanwhile, drain the greens and trim away any thick stems. Use a salad spinner to dry them well. In a food processor, combine the greens, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the pine nuts, garlic, vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Pulse until very finely chopped, but not pureed. The pesto should be mostly smooth, with some small green chunks.
When the carrots are done, transfer them back to the rimmed baking sheet. Spoon the pesto over them and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.
Per serving: 190 calories; 14 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat; 68 percent calories from fat); 15 g carbohydrates; 7 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 480 mg sodium; 3 g protein; 4 g fiber.
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