Hold back the dying days of fresh pesto a while longer

Autumn pesto

The basil is kaput. The rocket has long entered outer space. The parsley is all washed up and seedy. What to make fresh pesto with?

Fear not – those juicy late season carrots hold the solution!

Carrot top pesto

In France they sell carrot tops, sometimes even without carrots… The French know a thing or two about nutrition and gourmet food. Even in the UK in Victorian times, people utilised the fresh green tops of carrots for more than the compost pile. So, the next time you pull some nice fresh carrots from the soil, keep the tops and Hey Pesto!

You need:

A bunch of green carrot tops, washed and shaken to get rid of most of the water.

Some blanched almonds and shelled sunflower seeds

A pinch of the secret ingredient (remember this?): Marigold bouillon (Swiss veg powder for seasoning)

The best olive oil you can lay your hands on at the time

And, off you go… (not forgetting the GREAT BIG KNIFE – if you are new to this food blog, see previous pesto recipes for technique).

How to:

VERY finely chop all choppable ingredients. Mix roughly. Blend if you’ve got a blender for smoooother pesto. I like ‘em rough myself.

Enjoying it:

Fantastic on pasta (of course). Also great on new spuds, as a garnish for winter root veg soup, on bruschetta – mmmmm.

And (drum roll),
On slices of hardboiled egg. Like a gourmet canapé, this. Looks amazing. Makes a cunningly simple appetiser. Tastes fantastic, esp. on the aforementioned delicate slices of carefully hardboiled new laid free range eggs (remember they take LONGER to cook if they are super freshly laid).

I’m thinking this would also be great with quail eggs, instead of caviar (way too elitist!) or black pudding (anathema to vegetarians and the highly squeamish or vampire phobic among us). Vegans can happily use this pesto as no cheese is involved. If you want more protein, use some white miso in the mix to get a superduper creamy smooth result. However this would make it a non-blobbable/spreadable pesto – so canapés are out for you guys.

Who else likes carrot tops?

Peter Rabbit is also known to enjoy carrot tops, thus proving how delicious and nutritious they are…. so protect your precious crop with wire cages if you want to beat him to this harvest.

As with all other pestos, this one freezes well and tastes just dandy when thawed, at room temp for canapés, or in microwave if you are in a hurry to enjoy it on pasta etc.

And finally – running out of carrots? Save the sliced off tops of the carrots you eat and put them in shallow containers of water, cut side down (you might remember doing this in primary school). They will soon grow new leafy greens from the top for you to continue to harvest and enjoy! I’m told a similar technique works with the remains of celery heads, but with these you plant them in the ground or in a pot of compost. They apparently will grow new tops too. I have vowed to try this one and keep it on the windowsill for judicious snipping this autumn.

carrot top pesto