Thursday, June 12, 2014

CSA Share - Spring Week 4 and Carrot Top Arugula Pesto

It's the last week of our spring CSA, and while endings make me a little sad, it also makes me excited to think about the upcoming main season share we have to look forward to!  Plus, this is one of my favorite hauls yet:

Spinach, carrots, beets, arugula (double, because the hubs traded our lettuce for more!), snap peas, and garlic scapes!

The peas and carrots are no-brainers, and will be used in lunches and for snacking.  I'm thinking I'll blanch and freeze the spinach this time, and you know how much I love my garlic scape pesto!  I'm thinking of bringing the beets and beet greens up to my mother in law, who makes a great beet soup with them.  And my brain is exploding with ideas for the arugula, which we haven't had in a long time.

As I was processing everything to store it in my fridge, the fresh carrot tops were too lovely to just toss in the compost.  And they have great flavor, slightly like parsley, but with that hint of carrotness.  Bright and clean.  I snacked on a couple of fronds.

Then I grabbed a bite of the arugula, and I don't know why, but the batch we got this week is SO peppery!  It was almost like biting into a radish with the kick.  So, you know me, the gears started spinning...

Pesto.  Pesto is such a great way to use greens.  The snappy arugula and the green-tasting carrot tops would be a nice mix together.  With toasted almonds and a rich, salty cheese to round it out.  Pesto only takes about 10 minutes to make, max, but I could hardly wait for this one!

First, I heated the over to 350 and popped a generous half cup of almonds in for 6 minutes to toast them.

I removed the stem part of the carrot tops, then put the frilly leaves into my food processor.

I grabbed a large bunch of arugula and gave it a quick chop through, then added that to the food processor as well.

I grated up about a half cup of Pecorino Romano cheese, but asiago or even manchego would be good as well.

I tossed a couple of cloves of minced garlic, a teaspoon of kosher salt, the cheese, and the almonds on top of the greens.

Gave it a bunch of pulses to get it broken down a bit.

At this point, it would be pretty amazing as a spread on its own.  But I was in pesto mode.

I streamed in some olive oil while the food processor ran, until it came together into a nice consistency.

It's so yum.  I can't even explain it...

There's a gentle peppery overtone, but it's overall quite green tasting, and the rich nuttiness keeps bringing me back for another taste.  It would be fantastic on a sandwich, but also with chicken or fish, or on its own over pasta.

With it being full-out farmers market season soon, it won't be hard to find beautiful, fresh carrots with beautiful, fresh fronds attached to them.  Don't waste them, taste them!  And then make lots and lots of delicious pesto!  I promise you, it will be worth it.

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