Our friends Beth and Justin, both creative cooks and passionate gardeners, made our day when they dropped off some beautiful carrots, freshly dug from their garden. While hardcore carnivores may lay claim to nose-to-tail cooking, we think that this veggie based dish gives the concept a run for its money, as it uses all parts of the carrot plant: root-to-leaf cooking in its colorful prime. Carrot Ribbon Salad with Carrot Top Pesto is adapted from vegetable whiz Diane Morgan’s Roots cookbook. In this dish, the carrots are first mellowed with a quick hot water bath to soften their texture and bite. Carrot top pesto, with its subtle parsley-like flavor, is a lovely match, accented with dollops of creamy goat cheese. Find a source for fresh vibrant carrots with tops and make this beautiful dish.
Yield: Serves 2 as an entree, or 4-6 as an appetizer or side
- 7 medium sized carrots, trimmed
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
Carrot top pesto:
- 1 1/2 cups lightly packed carrots leaves, washed
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons toasted walnuts
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- For the dressing: Combine the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic in a large bowl. Whisk briefly to combine. Set aside.
- For the carrot top pesto: Combine the carrot leaves, oil, salt, walnuts, Parmesan, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth consistency. Taste and add adjust salt, lemon juice and oil to achieve your preferred texture and flavor. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
- For the carrot salad: Over high heat, bring a large pot of water to a boil. While water is heating, peel carrots with a vegetable peeler to make ribbons. I stopped peeling when I reached the core of the carrot and saved this for another use.
- Once the water is boiling, add the carrot ribbons and allow to cook for 1 minute. Remove the cooked carrot ribbons with tongs or a frying spider and place on paper towel or clean dishtowel to dry thoroughly.
- Add the dried carrot ribbons to the bowl of dressing and toss to coat.
- To serve: Arrange carrots on a long platter, garnish with goat cheese and carrot top pesto. Serve immediately.
- You can choose whether or not you’d like to cook your carrots as is indicated in this recipe. If you prefer raw, this dish will come together even quicker.
- Both the cooked carrots and pesto can be made ahead making this dish a nice one for guests. Store the cooked carrot ribbons in a zip-top bag and the pesto in a tightly lidded jar. Use within 1 day.