I know that spring is just around the corner, or at least that’s what I tell myself while I’m bundled up in my Ugg boots and winter jacket in this 35-degree weather in New York City. With that said, I am very much looking forward to being able to use awesome seasonal ingredients when the harvest comes, but until then I’m still playing around with my winter squash and root vegetables.
Root vegetables are perfect for roasting in the oven. The high heat caramelizes the vegetables and brings out the natural sugars giving the vegetables a sweet and earthy flavor. For this dish I played around with using the carrot tops as part of the sauce or pistou* since I like to have a total utilization of products when possible. I’ve also been using this technique of oven roasting/steaming with different vegetables and the results have been easy and delicious.
*Pistou is France’s “version” of pesto, traditionally with garlic, basil, and olive oil.
Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pistou
Makes 4 Servings
1 serving = 2 carrots + 1 tbsp pistou = 2 Points Plus
- 1 bunch baby carrots, green trimmed and reserved
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 7 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 bunch of carrot greens, blanched and shocked**
- ¼ cup tarragon leaves, picked
- ¼ cup parsley leaves, picked
- 2 tbsp chives, minced
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 slice wheat bread (I use Pepperidge Farm Light Style 7 Grain), soaked in water and drained
- 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon zest
**blanching is when you cook something in boiling water for 30 seconds to 2 minutes and then you “shock” it by placing it in ice water to stop the cooking process
First you want to give your carrots a good scrub. I don’t peel mine but you can peel yours if you like. I like to keep them intact and natural looking. I also keep a little part of the green on top because I think it looks pretty.
Next you can place your carrots in a large sauté pan (I like to use my cast-iron skillet because it’s perfect for conducting heat and for oven-roasting). Add your chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, and garlic clove and bring to a simmer on the stovetop. When the liquid is simmering place the pan into a 400°F preheated oven. Allow them to cook for 20-30 minutes or until tender. You’ll want to check on them every 7-10 minutes or so. If the chicken broth evaporates too quickly just add some water in ½ cup increments at a time. When the carrots are tender take the pan out and place over low heat on stovetop. Add your butter and coat the carrots in butter creating a nice glaze (all the liquid should be evaporated at that point. If it’s not keep the pan on medium-low heat until the liquid has evaporated and then add the butter.)
To make the pistou combine carrot greens (blanched, shocked, and drained), tarragon, parsley, chives, garlic, soaked bread, lemon zest, and ¼ cup of water in a blender. While the blender is running slowly add your olive oil. Add more water if necessary to thin out the puree. Season with salt and pepper appropriately.
Just a quick note: you did not misread the directions about the bread. The bread is soaked in water for a couple of minutes to moisten. Then the water is squeezed out and the bread is added to the pistou while it blends. The bread acts a thickener and emulsifier instead of using more oil. It creates a nice body and good flavor. I know it sounds weird but give it a try.
Serve glazed carrots with herbaceous pistou and enjoy. Hopefully the pistou will lighten the carrots so much you’ll forget it’s April and 35-degrees outside.