Za'atar Roasted Carrots & Carrot Top Pesto

Za'atar Roasted Carrots and Carrot Top Pesto

Back when I cooked at Oxheart, we had a popular dish that used carrots four ways. We roasted them, thin sliced them, puree’d them with spices into a kind of harissa sauce, and garnished the dish with their tops. For me it was kind of emblematic of the sort of approach to food Oxheart did so well - take a basic product and use it in new and interesting ways to bring out flavors you didn't anticipate. It was conceptual without being excessive, vegan without losing the craveability of meat-focused dishes, and unique for both diners and the cooks.

This is sort of the weeknight cooking-for-your-mom version of that idea, with a strong supporting role played by Burlap & Barrel’s amazing Wild Za’atar. Find really fresh carrots, roast them, and make a quick sauce with their tops. Season with great products and make it look nice. Nothing too crazy, but absolutely delicious

The ramp salt is a great finishing touch from one of our new partners, J.Q. Dickinson. They harvest Appalachian ramps, dry them out and infuse them with their heirloom salts - the aroma is great, adding a noticeable allium pungency without quite the bite onions or garlic would add in the same role.

Za'atar Roasted Carrots & Carrot Top Pesto

Roast: Pre-heat the oven to 400 degree F.

Separate the carrots from the stems and wash the carrots thoroughly until water runs clear when they are submerged, scrubbing off any dirt. Dry with a paper towel.

Place the carrots in a large bowl, and coat with olive oil liberally. The carrots should be glossy with olive oil, and there should be enough that some is running off the sides of the carrots.  Toss with a large pinch (about a tablespoon) of Za'atar, add the same amount of black pepper, and add two pinches of kosher salt. Toss until seasoning is distributed evenly.

Place the carrots on a parchment paper in the oven and roast for 20 minutes, shaking the carrots halfway through to evenly roast.  When the timer goes off, check that they are done.  A fork should be able to just cut through the carrots when pressure is applied - they shouldn't be mushy, but they also shouldn't have the texture of a raw carrot on the inside.

Make the Pesto: While the carrots are roasting, make the pesto.  Wash the tops of the carrots, dry them and cut them into 1/2 inch sized pieces. Add to a food processor or blender along with the garlic and parmesan.  Lightly toast the nuts in a pan until fragrant, and add them as well.  Add enough olive oil to come up halfway the side of the ingredients in the base (probably a little more than you think), and throw in one ice cube. Add a pinch of kosher salt.

Blend until smooth, taste and add kosher salt as needed to season the pesto.  Squeeze in the lemon juice and blend.

Plate: When the carrots are finished, spoon a generous amount of the pesto to the base of a bowl.  Add the carrots, garnish with a few carrot tops, and season with the ramp salt.  Serve immediately.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published