Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Never Had Carrot Tops (Leaves)? Try This Frittata

Carrot top frittata
Have you ever wondered if carrot tops -- yes, the delicate, feathery green leaves at the top of a bunch of carrots -- are edible?

I did.

And as part of my ongoing quest to discover tasty ways to cook parts of vegetables that are more commonly discarded, I asked many similarly-minded friends if they had ever eaten carrot tops.

None had. In fact, not one of them even knew whether carrot leaves were edible. More surprisingly, none of my cookbooks -- and I have an entire bookcase full of them -- made any mention of carrot tops, leaves, greens or anything else you want to call them.

Not one to be discouraged, I decided to search online. Much to my joy, I found this informative (if somewhat repetitive) article explaining that carrot tops are indeed edible, nutritious, and tasty. The article also included recipes as well as instructions for other ways to use carrot greens (e.g., to make a natural dye).

Carrot topsBased on what I read online, I tasted a little piece of carrot leaves from a fresh bunch of local, organic carrots and was pleased to discover that the flavor was mildly carrot-y and not bitter at all.

Having passed that basic taste test, I soon had the carrot tops sizzling in butter and olive oil with a little garlic and some spring onion, well on their way to becoming the star ingredient in the following carrot top frittata. By the way, the savory sauteed carrot greens could have stood on their own as a side dish if I hadn't used them in the frittata.

1 bunch carrot tops (carrot leaves), well rinsed
1 small spring onion, red or white, sliced (including green part)
3 cloves garlic, minced (I used green garlic but you can use ordinary garlic)
2 Tbs butter or olive oil (or 1 Tbs of each)
4 large eggs
1 Tbs milk or cream (I use skim milk)
1/2 tsp dried thyme OR 1/2 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Pinch or cut off the part of the carrot top stems that have no fronds/leaves, and discard the stems OR save for another use -- I stored them in a ziptop plastic bag in the freezer to use the next time I make stock, stew or soup.

carrot stems and carrot leaves

Coarsely chop the carrot leaves. Heat the butter/oil in a  medium skillet over medium heat, then saute the onion & garlic until tender. Add the chopped carrot tops and saute until wilted and tender -- they cook down, just like other greens.

Sauteing carrot tops

Beat together the eggs, milk, thyme, salt and pepper. When the greens have cooked down, pour in the egg mixture so that it evenly covers the greens. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the eggs have set and no longer look wet.

Cooking frittata with carrot leaves

Uncover, place a skillet-sized plate face-side down over the skillet, firmly grasp the skillet handle with one hand while holding the plate in place with your other hand, and in one smooth motion lift the skillet off the burner and turn over so that the frittata flips out onto the plate. Place the skillet back on the burner and carefully slide the frittata back into the skillet to cook the side that was previously the top of the frittata.

cooking carrot top frittata

Cook, uncovered, for about another 5 minutes until just lightly golden. Serves 2 to 4.

Zestfully yours,

PS:  If you have a recipe for carrot tops, please share in a comment below.

PPS: If you like to eat your eggs with ketchup or salsa, check out the spicy ketchups and gourmet salsas we have on sale at the Carolina Sauces online store.

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