Spring has sprung! Once the daffodils start to pop I start getting very excited for the farmers market. It’s too early in the Pacific Northwest, particularly this year, to see much change. Spring doesn’t really begin for us until the morels start to pop and piles of local Washington asparagus appear amongst the hardy winter greens. But even so, I found myself wandering Pike Place Market the other day, ready to be inspired.
And there they were, at Frank’s Quality Produce, where Chaz charms the tourists and local chefs alike. Thumbalina carrots. Squat little bright orange things that belong in a Disney cartoon with a smashing hairdo of greens on top.
I love it when the shopping inspires the dish more than the dish inspires the shopping. I had never had any curiosity about what to do with carrot tops until I met these Thumbalina carrots. But it seemed only right to use the fluffy green tops for some sort of dip thing for the carrots themselves. This may be the first, but it’s not the last time you will see me use the phrase ‘Hot Carrot on Carrot Action’ here.
I reviewed some recipes for Carrot Top Pesto, landing on this one on Simply Recipes as a jumping off place. One of my life’s great disappointments was admitting to myself that feeling terrible was not worth the mouthwatering glory of dairy products, and this recipe uses cashews instead of parmesan. I made some edits to it, omitted the spinach because I loathe spinach, added fresh dill because I love dill, a kick of serrano chili pepper, and some lemon juice and zest for a little tang-a-lang.
Carrot Top Pesto
2.5 cups carrot tops
1 cup fresh dill
½ seeded serrano pepper (more if you like it SPICY)
1 clove garlic
½ cup roasted unsalted cashews
Zest and juice of one lemon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon Piment d’Espelette
½ cup olive oil
Blend all ingredients adding an ice cube once all the ingredients are incorporated and the sauce turns green. Continue blending until smooth and fluffy. Will hold in the fridge for about a week.
Tip! If you are serving it for Mother’s Day Brunch or a special occasion and want to make it before hand, you can refresh the bright green by adding more dill or carrot tops.Tip Too! Try it with different greens! Dill and Carrot Tops are both very tender. So is parsley, chervil, cilantro, fennel fronds…the possibilities are nearly endless and are a good way to use up herbs you have staring at you with that LOOK.