Despite the fact that the British Air Ministry deceived more than the Germans during WWII, thus searing the myth that carrots were good for your eyesight onto the collective retina, carrots are good for you. They’re packed full of fiber, phytonutrients and anti-oxidants [lutein, lycopene, alpha, beta and gamma carotenes, zeaxanthin and xanthophyll], vitamins [pro-vitamin A, vitamins C, D, E, K, B1 and B6] and minerals [biotin, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, organic sodium and other trace minerals]. That’s just the stuff we know about. The carrot, as a whole, is a great food and that is why this month we shall include many recipes that focus on this incredibly versatile and ubiquitous vegetable.
If you can find carrots with the tops attached, buy them! I remember as a teenager I worked at a local market and the checkout clerks would offer to remove the carrot tops for their customers. Then, I thought it was a great service, now…you’d have to pry them out of my cold dead hands. Carrot tops are marvelous to cook with. They have the brightness of parsley and a slightly carrot flavored taste to them. Which leads me to the first carrot recipe this month…
Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top and Pepita Pesto
1 bunch carrots with tops
¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
¼ cup pepitas, pan toasted
1 tsp lemon zest
1 T walnut oil
1 clove garlic
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut carrots into bite-sized pieces and spray lightly with olive oil. Toss to coat well and place in the oven for 30 minutes or until the carrots are fork tender.
Wash and dry the carrot tops. Give them a rough chop and place ½ cup into a food processor. Add the parsley, lemon zest, 2 T pepitas, walnut oil and the garlic clove. [Do not process it so much that you get a homogenous paste. You want some rustic texture.] Transfer the pesto to a bowl and add in the remaining pepitas. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Simply spoon the pesto over the roasted carrots and serve.