Nose-to-Tail Carrots via The Kitchen Ecosystem

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Dan Barber’s wastED pop-up inspired me to put my compost pail on a diet by eating all those beet tops and broccoli stalks. Luckily Eugenia Bone’s beautiful book The Kitchen Ecosystem is here to help. Bone considers ingredients individually and offers inspired recipes to enjoy each over time: fresh, preserved, reimagined leftovers and even the parts cooks usually throw away. Beet-cooking water goes into granite; radish tops are roasted; grape skins are saved for cocktails.

We’ll have more on Eugenia’s book come Earth Day, but encourage you to crown your carrots with fennel seeds while using their frilly leaves for the following pesto:

Carrots with butter and fennel seeds

Carrots and fennel seeds are a lovely combination. If you’d like to sweeten your carrots, you can add a tablespoon or two of brown sugar when you add the butter. Save the carrot greens for Carrot Top Pesto, below.

Serves 4

1 pound carrots, cut into batons
2 cups water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the carrots in a large pot and add the water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover, and cook for 7 minutes. Uncover and let the carrots continue to boil. Add the butter, fennel seeds, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the liquid has almost completely evaporated, another 3 minutes or so.

Serve promptly.

Whir carrots' frilly leaves into pesto, paired here with flank steak.
Whir carrots’ frilly leaves into pesto, paired here with flank steak.

Carrot top pesto (see another version of this recipe here)

Delicious and refreshing — I’ve never bought carrots without the greens since I discovered how to make this. Be sure to separate the greens as soon as you get them home as they pull moisture out of the carrots. This delicious and refreshing recipe uses just the feathery leaves; save the thick green stems for stock.

Makes about 1/2 cup

Greens from 1 medium bunch of carrots
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
Squirt of fresh lemon juice

Pull the feathery leaves off the stems. You should have about 2 loosely packed cups of leaves.

You have to blanch the greens or the pesto is too grassy, so bring a small pot of water to a boil and drop in the carrot leaves. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes, then drain. The greens will reduce to about 1/2 cup.

Transfer the greens to a food processor or blender and add the oil, pine nuts, garlic cloves, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Blend to a puree.

To keep: refrigerate the pesto, preserve it in oil, or freeze it.

Adapted from The Kitchen Ecosystem: Integrating Recipes to Create Delicious Meals. Copyright © 2014 by Eugenia Bone. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Ben Fink. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House, LLC.

Betsy Bradley

Elizabeth L. Bradley writes about New York City history and culture. She hopes to find Tiffany blue dragees in her Christmas stocking this year.

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