If you get an organic veg box, you will find your vegetables don’t come neatly trimmed to fit their plastic container but bustling with a jungle of accompanying vegetation. Waste not, want not! Don’t throw it in the bin. These leaves and tops are the top of the pops… with nutrients of around six times more than the root as well as lots of potassium, calcium and phytonutrients. With beetroot, I use the smaller leaves in salads and then roast the stalks with olive oil and a little salt. I soak in balsamic dressing and then keep for use in salads. With carrots, the green herb part is slightly bitter and is a digestive aid. It is perfect for making this carrot leaf version of Chimichurri. You can make this in larger quantity to keep in the fridge for use as an everyday accompaniment.
In this recipe, we combine it with freshly pan-fried carrots and homemade paneer.
1 bunch of carrot tops
2 gloves garlic chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Take the leaves and tops and pulse in a food processor with the garlic. Next add the olive oil, chilli flakes, cumin, lemon juice and salt. Pulse for a few seconds to mix.
Homemade paneer (prepare at least 2 hours or the night before)
(Or use Haloumi or goat’s cheese as an alternative)
You will need a muslin cloth to drain
1.5 litres full fat milk
Juice of 1 lemon
Gently bring the milk to boiling point on a stove. When it has cooled a bit, add the lemon juice and stir with a whisk. Immediately, the milk will separate. Add a little salt. Strain the liquid into a bowl using a fine muslin cloth. You can wash the cheese a bit with water to have less of the lemon flavour. Squeeze the cloth so that you get rid of as much liquid as possible. Place in a fridge to chill with a large weight over the top and a bowl underneath, to catch any residing liquid.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
1 bunch of carrots (about 8) scrubbed and chopped into chunky rounds
Heat a heavy based frying pan. Add the olive oil and butter. Add the carrots and cook for about 10 minutes but be careful not to lose the crunch. Stir in the honey.
Next, take your paneer cheese and crumble into similar chunks. Again, heat some olive oil in the frying pan with some sea salt. Add the cheese and fry until nicely browned on the sides.
Mix the paneer with the carrots and top with your chimchurri salsa, garnishing with a few extra leaves from the tops.
Enjoy the crunch and remember to defend the land with ‘Cuidem Benimaclet!’ See their website https://cuidembenimaclet.org/ for more details.
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Photo by Caixa Fosca