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Roasted Baby Carrots with Almond-Carrot Top Pesto
Roasted Baby Carrots with Almond-Carrot Top Pesto

We’re familiar with the waste-not approach of nose-to-tail cooking, in which chefs use “everything but the oink” on their menus. It took a chat with chef Joel Somerstein, however, for us to realize we could apply that same philosophy to root-vegetable cookery. At the high-end Soho kosher restaurant, he roasts sweet baby carrots and serves them with an inventive almond-carrot top pesto; the bright sauce prevents those feathery green tops from ending up in the compost bin and gives an autumn-appropriate side dish a whole new look.

Makes: 4 servings (and about cup pesto)

2 bunches baby carrots, tops attached (about 2 pounds)

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup sliced almonds, toasted

2 garlic cloves

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Cut the tops off the carrots, leaving ½ inch of the stem attached. Reserve the tops. Peel the carrots, transfer to a large baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Spread the carrots in a single layer and roast until tender, about 18 minutes, depending on the size of your carrots. Remove the carrots from the oven and cover with foil for 5 minutes to finish cooking.

2. Meanwhile, pick the carrot leaves off the reserved stems. (Discard the stems.) Prepare an ice-water bath. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the leaves until tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer the leaves to the ice-water bath to cool.

3. Drain the carrot leaves, then transfer to a blender or the bowl of a food processor. Add the almonds and garlic and pulse briefly. With the motor running, slowly add the remaining ½ cup of olive oil and blend until a paste-like pesto forms. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.

4. Arrange the carrots on a serving plate and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature with the pesto on the side.

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