It’s 2016 and California is in the midst of our rainy season with the addition of El Nino weather. Although we have gotten a bit of rain, we are still in a drought and conservation efforts continue. Super Sous and I created our Drought Friendly Recipes project last year and released a handful of recipes that make the most of California water.
Continuing with this project, we have a new recipe, perfect for one our favorite root vegetables, carrots. This recipe uses not only the carrot, but the carrot tops (for the most part the tops are discarded (unless you have a pet rabbit you are feeding)). Carrot tops can be bitter and fibrous, but this method of preparation – turning the tops into a puree mixed with herbs – might just change the way you think about carrots next time you see them in the store.
Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Cilantro Puree
Yields: 2 servings
1 bunch of large carrots, approximately 7 carrots, ¾ pounds, with tops
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
Place an oven rack to the middle position. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Place sheet tray on rack and preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove carrot tops and reserve for puree (recipe below). Peel and cut carrots in half, lengthwise.
In a medium bowl, mix together carrots, grapeseed oil, cumin and salt. Stir to coat the carrots.
When oven is preheated, removed sheet tray and place carrots in one layer on top of the parchment-lined sheet tray.
Roast for 30-35 minutes, until carrots are nicely caramelized, flipping carrots once after 20 minutes.
Serve roasted carrots atop carrot top cilantro puree and garnish with some fresh cilantro leaves.
Carrot Top Cilantro Puree
Yield: 1 cup
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil, divided
1 small onion, peeled and diced small (1½ cups)
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and rough chopped (3 tablespoons)
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
Tops from 1 bunch of large carrots, rinsed and chopped roughly (1 packed cup)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 packed cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup roughly chopped fresh mint
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
kosher salt, to taste
Place 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil and onions in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly caramelized, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
Add garlic, coriander and chipotle. Stir and cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute.
Add carrot tops. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
Add vegetable broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until broth has reduced and only 1/3 cup of liquid remains, approximately 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Transfer contents of sauté pan into a blender. Add cilantro, mint, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, pepper and 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil to the blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Scrape insides of blender down with a rubber spatula and blend again on high for 30 to 45 seconds until fully pureed.
Season to taste with salt and serve puree with roasted carrots.
Refrigerate any remaining puree; use extra for roasted veggies, fish dishes and sandwich spreads.