Carrot fronds and scallion greens are full of herby flavor that brightens up almost any savory dish. Vivian Howard, star of the PBS series A Chef's Life and chef-owner of Chef & the Farmer in North Carolina, roasts carrots till they're golden brown, then arranges them on crusty ciabatta with creamy, tangy buttermilk ricotta and dollops of pesto made of carrot fronds and scallions. (The pesto is also tasty drizzled on eggs, mashed into a baked potato, or tossed with roasted veggies.) And here's a bonus: If you plunk carrot tops and scallion bulbs in water and give them a little sun, they'll grow new greens, so you can keep these pesto fixings on hand.

Serves 4


Carrot Toasts:
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 12 medium carrots with tops (about 1 pound), tops trimmed and reserved
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground fennel
  • 2/3 cup ricotta
  • 3 Tbsp. buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 4 (1"-thick) slices ciabatta

  • 1 cup roughly chopped, packed carrot tops (from carrots, above)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1/4 cup packed basil leaves (from about 1/2 bunch)
  • 1/4 cup packed mint leaves (from about 1/2 bunch)
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from 1 to 2 lemons)
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)


    Active time: 45 minutes
    Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

    To make carrot toasts: Preheat oven to 300°. In a 12" cast-iron skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss carrots with 1 Tbsp. oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, coriander and fennel until evenly coated. Arrange in skillet in a single layer and cook, turning once, until just charred, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and roast, tossing carrots once or twice, until golden brown and tender, about 25 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

    To make pesto: Meanwhile, in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse carrot tops, Parmesan, pecans, basil, mint, lemon juice, zest, honey, salt and red pepper flakes until finely chopped, about 30 seconds. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in oil. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in scallions. Set pesto aside.

    In a small bowl, combine ricotta, buttermilk, lemon zest and 1/2 tsp. salt. Set buttermilk ricotta aside.

    When carrots are cool, cut into bite-size pieces. In a medium bowl, toss carrots with 1/2 tsp. salt. Wipe skillet clean and return to stove.

    Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in skillet over medium heat. Arrange bread in a single layer and cook, flipping halfway through, until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Season with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and transfer to plates.

    Spread buttermilk ricotta on toasts and pile carrots on top. Drizzle each serving with about 2 Tbsp. pesto, cut in half, and serve immediately.

    Next Story