Carrot Chips with Carrot-Top Pesto Amuse-bouche

Cardamom Carrot Chips with Carrot-Top Pesto

Carrots everywhere seem to be having a really great summer!  Maybe they like the sweltering heat and high humidity?  (What’s not to like!?!?)  So, for fun, I decided to do an amuse-bouche for our dinner.  I make carrot-top pesto often and we use it for many different purposes.  But doing the pesto made me want to do a carrot-themed recipe.

If you can find multi-colored carrots, it’s even more fun!  Crispy carrot chips with tantalizing carrot-top pesto – what’s not to like?

Carrot-top Pesto

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts
2 medium cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
carrot tops from one large bunch, washed, large stems removed
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast or 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (sheep)
1 1/2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1/4 teaspoon sea salt if using Romano, otherwise 1/2 tsp salt

Toast the nuts in a dry pan over medium heat, shaking pan occasionally until fragrant.  In your food processor or high speed blender, combine the nuts and the garlic and pulse a few times until roughly chopped and broken up. Add the carrot leaves, olive oil, nutritional yeast or cheese, hemp seeds and sea salt. Pulse until just combined. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Will keep covered in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Carrot Chips

1 bunch mature multi-colored carrots
olive oil or melted duck fat if you are feeling really naughty
coarse sea salt (freshly ground Himalayan Pink Salt does wonders!)
Cardamom (freshly ground really deals a punch!)

Sheet pan lined with parchment.

Preheat oven to bake at 400 F or convection at 375 F

Wash and trim ends of carrots, reserving tops for pesto.  Make pesto first (recipe below).  Slice carrots no thicker than 1/4 inch on a diagonal, and even less if you can (even using a madoline if you are not a musician)! Place in a large bowl, pour olive oil or duck fat over so that when you stir them, they are well-coated with oil.  Remove to the sheet pan and make sure they are in a single layer and not crowded together.  Shake cardamom over them until there is a sprinkle of cardamom on each slice.  Then grind your salt over them so each slice has some salt according to your taste.  Bake in middle of the oven until browned around the edges (not burned – which is easy to do if you don’t pay attention! – take it from me!)

Place on a small appetizer tray or plate and serve with a dollop of the pesto on the side.