I go to at least one farmers market a week during the growing season. My primary reason for going is to buy delicious produce from kind people, but I’m also always on the lookout for something extra and interesting. I don’t to just want to come home with things to cook for dinner (though that is a necessary element). My eyes are also scanning the stands, looking for something that will either activate my culinary imagination or give me the opportunity to make a recipe that I have mentally bookmarked.
When I spotted these carrots, they triggered memories of two recipes I’d long wanted to try. First, they brought to mind this recipe that Alana posted on Eating From the Ground Up last fall. I’d been meaning to try that pesto ever since I’d first read her tale of those special Woven Roots Farm carrots, but hadn’t come across really great looking greens. And those sweet little carrots? They were destined to become Amanda’s fermented gingery pickles.
This bundle of carrots was the last one in a bin marked $3. That might seem like a lot for a small cluster of carrots, but knowing the plans I had for the greens, it ended up feeling like a bargain. The vendor did ask if I wanted the greens removed, but the horror on my face stopped her before my words even reached her ears.
I will confess that I paused a bit before deciding to write about this batch of pesto. I published a similar recipe using stinging nettles not too long ago and I didn’t want you all to feel like this blog was becoming all pesto, all the time. But truly, I am a lover of these bright, nutty, herbaceous pastes and make them all summer, with the goal of having about a dozen little green jars in the freezer before the first frost comes.
I find that having a small stash of homemade pestos in my freezer is one of the easiest ways to avoid ordering takeout. I don’t just use them for dressing pasta, either. A solo dinner of sauteed kale, a scoop of a warm grain like millet, and a generous dollop of pesto and I’m a happy girl. They’re good on top of simple soups. And a batch thinned out with a little vinegar, water and a touch more olive oil and you have a very delicious vinaigrette.
Carrot Top and Garlic Scape Pesto
- 2 cups packed carrot greens
- 3 ounces chopped garlic scapes About 4-5 curly scapes. If you don't have scapes, use 2 large peeled cloves instead
- 1/2 cup toasted pistachios
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3-4 turns of a pepper mill
- Rinse the greens and pick out big stems, blades of grass, and any leaves that have started to turn brown.
- Put the greens in the food processor and pulse 5 to 6 times, until they are tamed a bit.
- Add the garlic scapes, pistachios, and lemon juice and run the processor motor until the nuts begin to disappear into the greenness.
- With the motor running, stream in 1/4 cup olive oil. Stop motor and scrape down the walls of the bowl and run some more. If the pesto looks very dry, add remaining oil.
- Add salt and pepper and pulse to combine.
- Taste and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice, should you deem it necessary.
- To freeze this pesto, pack it into small jars. I like wide mouth half pints, but the tiny quarter pint jars also work nicely.
- Fill the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace. Top the pesto with a very fine layer of olive oil. This will prevent the pesto from discoloring or developing surface freezer burn.