Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Carrot and Carrot Top Pesto

While I've used a small amount of feathery green carrot leaves when making stock I've often wondered if I could use them in larger quantities in other ways, such as pesto and salads. Last week, I bought some bunched carrots with the intention of making either one of these carrot pesto recipes. The tops were so fresh, I had to explore how they could be used and my fellow foodies in a Facebook group confirmed that it is indeed a very tasty herb and came up with all sorts of suggestions. While intending to still go ahead with my original pesto idea and intending to turn the leaves into a thick herb oil I changed my mind halfway through the preparation. The result is stunning. As I didn't loosen the pesto too much it's thick and creamy and will make a great sandwich spread. Next time, I buy bunched carrots I'll make carrot top pesto.

500 g bunched carrots, including the carrot tops/leaves
50 g fresh Parmesan
1 handful of hazelnuts
3 garlic cloves
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive,  as required

Cut the leaves off the carrots and trim off the stems from below the bottommost feathery leaf. Top and tail, then peel the carrots and slice them into 5 mm thick slices. Bring a pan with about an inch of water to the boil. Steam the carrots for 10-12 minutes until they are just tender.

Coarsely chop the carrot tops and place into a food processor along with all the other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Add a generous amount of olive oil and process to a paste adding more olive oil until the desired consistency has been reached. Check the seasoning, then put in the fridge until ready to use. If you're not eating all the carrot pesto over the next day or two, transfer into a sterilised screw top jar and top with olive oil to seal. This wy, it should keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

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