As the calendar page turns from September to October, here’s a recipe I made in August. It’s farmers market fare and there’s still time to get in on it before most of our carrots are plucked from cold storage.
Roasted carrots with carrot top hazelnut pesto
Adapted from Bon Appétit. Carrot tops are the earthier, more bitter cousins of their roots. Which I realize doesn’t sound particularly appetizing. But bear with me here. To mellow the bitterness of the pesto, I added one of the carrots and lemon juice. Rather than using pine nuts as in the original recipe, I chose hazelnuts since I like how well carrots and the Egyptian spice and nut (usually hazelnut) mix called dukkah go together. The leftover pesto is great on vegetables that sweeten with roasting – cauliflower, beets, parsnips, even Brussels sprouts.
Serves 4 as a side dish
- 2 pounds carrots (about a dozen medium) with tops attached
- 2 T + ¼ C olive oil, divided
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ garlic clove
- ¼ C hazelnuts, toasted and peeled
- ¼ C parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- 2-3 T lemon juice
Prep. Heat oven to 400°F. Peel and trim the carrots, leaving short stems attached. Set aside one carrot and all the leafy tops. Was the tops really well to remove any dirt.
Roast. Cover a baking sheet with parchment. Toss carrots (except for the one you put aside) with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, a few pinches of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally until carrots are golden brown and tender, 35-45 minutes for full sized carrots (less time for smaller carrots).
Crush. Pulse garlic and nuts in a food processor until a coarse paste forms. Add 1 cup of the carrot tops, the carrot you set aside, and parsley; process until a coarse purée forms. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and lemon juice and pulse until combined; season with salt and pepper.
Serve. Serve carrots drizzled with pesto.
Store. The pesto will last up to 2 weeks in a jar in the refrigerator. It should also freeze well.