Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto and Burrata

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I've been very fortunate lately to have both the Proctor Farmers' Market AND the Olympia Farmers' Markets open and full of amazing fresh produce. I usually buy the whole bunches and ask to keep the greens attached. I've discovered that you can slice and roast almost any vegetable with the greens attached and they're really good! (Turnips, beets, carrots, radishes to name a few...) This discovery, along with my fascination with the vegetable equivalent of nose-to-tail cooking, root-to-stem, has led me to this lovely recipe!

When I made carrot top pesto in the past, I just roasted the greens along with the carrots and used the roasted tops in the sauce. For some reason, this led to a somewhat bitter flavor. The addition of the blanching step removes the bitterness and allows for a creamy, savory pesto. Don't skip the blanching step. : ) 

Another great find was the Black Truffle Burrata on sale at Whole Foods this week! Apparently, this cheese is an allocated item, so after it's sold out, there's no more until next year. Really, any good burrata would be amazing here. If you can't find the truffle burrata and want that flavor, just add a drizzle of truffle oil or finish it with truffle salt. (Or, you know, just shave on some fresh black truffles from your weekend in France.)  This was a simple side dish that really became the star of my dinner. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 bunches of carrots
  • 2 tablespoons + 1/2 cup olive oil, separated
  • 1 two-ounce tin of anchovies
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup of roasted almonds 
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves 
  • 1 ball of Black Truffle Burrata (Or regular) 
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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wash the carrots well. I prefer to leave the skins on, as they contain a lot of the nutrients and vitamins. If you're buying local organic carrots, I recommend keeping the skins on. If not, peel away! Cut the greens from the carrots and leave them on the cutting board. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Slice the carrots in half lengthways and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Place them on a sheet pan and put them in the oven for half an hour. 

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Roughly chop the greens. 

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When the water has come to a boil, get a second bowl of ice water ready on the counter. Drop the greens into the boiling water and cook them until they are a bright, dark green and slightly limp. I left mine in the water for one minute. Scoop them into the ice water to cool down and stop the cooking process. Drain them in a colander and squeeze out as much water as you can. 

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Place the anchovies, garlic, and almonds in a food processor and pulse until you have a smooth paste. Add the basil and carrot tops and puree until well combined, then pour in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil and mix again. 

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When the carrots are roasted, pull them from the oven. Toss them with some of the pesto until they are evenly coated, but don't feel like you need to use all of the pesto. I had extra pesto, which was great on eggs the next day for breakfast. It would also be delicious on fish, steak, added to a soup or fried rice... I can think of endless options for this tasty sauce! The pesto will save well in the fridge for up to one week.

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Put the carrots in a shallow bowl or plate. 

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Place on a piece of burrata and grate some freshly ground pepper over the whole dish. Or again, those fresh truffles from your weekend foraging trip. : ) 

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