Making Vegetable Butters and Keeping Carrot Tops for Pesto

Cool and smooth vegetable butters are great go-to lazy light dinners

So I started seeing some variety of carrots in the market. Complete with its vibrant green tops and multi-hues of orange, yellows and even purples, I immediately thought of my favorite method of consuming this seasonal bounty-which is to pan roast it slowly with some butter and simply seasoned with salt and pepper.

Although some times, I tickle my taste buds by tossing some white onions into the roast, adding some chili-flake heat, lightly crushed fennel seeds and cumin for some yin-yang spice vibes and a good dose of some smoky paprika.

This time however, I was visited with the anxiety of not having enough time to always wait for that slow roast to finish whenever I want to have this vegetable caramel.

So, motivated by this lack of time (and laziness), a sudden flash of insight so profound and wise hit me like a lightning. A solution so simple and straightforward I felt like doing this method to any vegetable that I love slowly roasted.

Enter vegetable butter.

Blitzing that slow roasted vegetable into a smooth and luscious spread which keeps perfectly well in the fridge for a couple of days, perfect for those times I need some quick pick-me-up snack.

With some crisp, juicy greens, flatbreads or even crackers, this vegetable larder item could be done to many vegetables (especially the root family- like parsnips, beets, onions, sweet potatoes and even water chestnuts)

the recipe

Spiced Carrot Butter

500gms carrots (try different varieties!), cut up into chunks

80gms butter, unsalted

20ml neutral oil

3g fennel seeds

3g cumin seeds

salt to taste

black pepper to taste

  • Heat up some oil in the pan and simply toss in the carrots along with the rest of the ingredients except for the butter. Put on a lid and cook over low heat for 30 mins or up until the carrots are mushy tender.

  • Crank the heat on high and brown the edges of the carrots then add in the butter. Mix until the butter fully melts into the mixture and keep aside until it’s no longer off-the-heat hot.

  • Use a blender to process the mixture into a fine smooth puree and check seasoning. optionally, if you still want a smoother and looser spread, this would be the time to add in some more butter if desired.

Another thing that I suddenly decided to try is to utilize the carrot tops that normally left on on these seasonal bundles of carotene. so plucking out the tender leaves from the fibrous stems (which I finely chopped and simmered along with my pot of pulled oats just for fun), I quickly blanched the tops and submerged it under cold water to stop further cooking and in the hopes of keeping it green for my oil.

all that’s left is to decide on what ingredients I’d like to have with my pesto.

I decided on these:

Carrot Top-Walnut Pesto

120ml neutral oil

60g walnut, pre-toasted, unsalted

30g Carrot top, blanched and squeezed dry

20ml lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

  • simply blend together as fine as the blender will allow, checking for seasoning once finished.

since summer season brings in so much local food crops that are sold along with its vibrant green tops, I think it would be sensible to try to make some bitter rubs and oils which could then use for heavy salted meats. Pretty much like how I’d use horseradish since I find that most root leafy tops are on the bitter-astringent side of the flavor spectrum.

just a little more than a month until this nice summer weather ends!
will have to stock up on the summer sunshine vegetables to keep the cold away. :)

that’s it for this issue.

until next time! :)