Orange Glazed Carrot Ribbons with Pistachio-Mint Pesto
In the past, I've played around with making raw carrot ribbon salads, especially when colorful heirloom carrots are around, but I wanted to try something a little different that varied in texture and packed a lot of flavor. By those measures, this recipe is a success.
Instead of leaving the carrots raw like I would usually prepare them, I lightly cooked and glazed them so that they became soft, pasta like ribbons. And while traditional pesto would have worked fine, I chose pistachios, which like carrots have a natural sweetness to them, and mint because I love it and it's a nice departure from basil, especially in spring.
When you take a bite, you are immediately hit with the intense sweetness of the soft carrots followed by the more savory brightness of the crunchy pesto. It makes for lovely weekend lunch or a side dish at dinner.
The pesto itself can be used in a ton of ways - with regular pasta, smeared over some crusty crostini, or spooned over grilled meat - I'm planning to use my leftovers as the perfect compliment to some lamb kabobs later this weekend.
Serves - 2
For the Carrots
- 4 large carrots
- 1 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed is best)
- 3/4 tsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbs butter
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/8 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt & pepper to taste
For the Pesto
- 1 cup mint leaves
- 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
- 1 small clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Pepper to taste
- Using a vegetable peeler, shave all of the carrots until you have a pile of ribbons.
- In a large sautee pan, bring the orange juice and brown sugar to a boil and let it cook until it thickens and reduces by half.
- Add the carrot ribbons and the butter and cook until almost all the liquid is absorbed.
- While the carrots cook, prepare the pesto by pulsing all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until they become a paste. I like to leave mine a little bit chunky, but you can add more or less oil depending on the consistency you like.
- When the carrots are ready, remove from the heat and add the honey, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.
- Transfer the carrot ribbons to a bowl and toss with the pesto, or you can try to be creative like me and brush a strip of pesto onto a pate and top with a pile of the ribbons and a fresh sprig of mint (can you tell I've been watching too much Chef's Table lately?)