The Farmer’s Market finally opened last weekend, and I was up and ready to go hours before the booths had even been set up. After this endlessly bleak winter, I’ve been dying for sun and fresh produce and the bright flavors you can really only get with fresh out of the ground ingredients. I take Mab Tabs daily to ensure I have all the plants my body needs, but I also add in as much fresh produce as possible – the Farmer’s Market is the perfect place to find it.
One of my favorite finds of the morning was a large bunch of carrots with the most gorgeous mane of bright green feathery leaves. With a mane like that, you just knew those carrots would be extra sweet (and they were!).
The use of carrots in medical herbalism dates back to 200 A.D. A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M Grieve, the seminal text of herbal folklore first published in 1931, catalogs the many medicinal uses of carrots, from their carminative properties (as a digestive aid) to use of the leaves for wound treating. While most people know that the carrot is rich in beta carotene, fewer are aware of the high levels of potassium found in its leaves.
This recipe for Carrot Top Pesto is all about the leaves and what I found hanging out in my pantry cupboards. It comes together in under 10 minutes with a cuisinart, most of it prep time.
- 1 large roughly chopped bunch of Carrot top greens
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¾ cup Pecans
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½-1 cup Olive Oil (depends on how loose you like your pesto)
Grind the pecans and garlic in your cuisinart with a bit of the olive oil to break those down first. Then add the rest of the ingredients – except for the cheese – and blend for a full 5 minutes. Carrot tops leaves are tougher than they look, so the extra blending really helps incorporate all the flavors and gives the smooth feel you expect from a pesto. Once everything is blended, if you are using cheese, mix it in by hand, and add extra oil and/or lemon to taste plus salt and pepper.
The tangy flavor of the slightly bitter greens mixed with buttery pecans, garlic, lemon and olive oil is mouthwatering on it’s own. The cheese makes it even better if you are using it for pasta. I slathered this pesto on top of lightly oiled halibut, set it in a 400 degree oven to bake for 12 minutes and added an extra squeeze of lemon at the end. Honestly, this is the best thing I’ve made all year. Equally good on pasta or as a dip for other veggies.
No, you won’t find carrot tops in Mab Tabs, but this is the season for them if you are able to venture out to a local farm or market. Go find them. It’s worth the hunt!