This root to stem recipe makes wonderful use of the whole carrot and is substantial enough to hold its own as a vegetarian main dish or will sing as a hearty side. There is no need to peel the carrots, just thoroughly scrub them, clean and soak the tops before processing to dislodge any garden soil still holding on. The crunchy explosive flavor of the Cabot Vermont Sharp Cheddar or Cabot Cracked Peppercorn Cheddar frico elevates the earthy caramelized roasted carrots and the addition of tangy green chimichurri finishes the dish with pop and zing.
2-3 bunches of carrots with tops (approximately 12-15)
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt and pepper (or to taste)
6-8 ounces Cabot Vermont Sharp Cheddar or Cabot Cracked Peppercorn Cheddar, grated (2 cups or slightly less)
¼ cup fresh cilantro, fine minced
1 shallot, fine minced
1-2 garlic cloves, fine minced
1-2 jalapeño chili peppers, seeded finely minced
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
⅓-½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
PREHEAT the oven to 400°F and prepare a sheet pan by lightly oiling it with a bit of olive oil. While the oven is preheating, prepare the carrots and tops.
REMOVE the carrot tops, discarding any woody stems, and soak the fluffy fronds in a salad spinner or pan filled with cold water to remove any dirt. Dry the fronds by shaking excess water off of them and then wrap them in a paper towel to gently blot away any remaining water. Thoroughly clean the carrots with a vegetable scrubber, there is no need to remove the peel. Toss the carrots with the olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange in one layer on a sheet pan.
ROAST the carrots for 15-20 minutes. Remove the carrots from the oven and shake the pan to roll the carrots and help to caramelize all sides. Sprinkle the cheese over the carrots and onto the pan. It is okay, and recommended to allow some of the cheese to remain on the carrots and some to land on the pan itself, this will help to make the crunchy “frico” topping. Return to the oven and cook for another 10 -12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown, but not burn.
MAKE the chimichurri while the carrots are roasting by finely chopping the carrot fronds until you have ½ cup of finely chopped fronds. Combine the carrot fronds with the finely chopped cilantro, shallot, garlic cloves, jalapeño, red wine vinegar, extra-vigin olive oil, and salt and ground black pepper to taste.
REMOVE the roasted carrots from the oven and transfer to a platter, be sure to include all the beautiful caramelized and crunchy golden baked cheese and sprinkle over the carrots. Drizzle the chimichurri over the top to suit your taste and serve the rest on the side for those who want more. You can save any extra chimichurri in the refrigerator for up to a week and use as a condiment on anything you desire… grilled cheese sandwich, grilled chicken or steak, burgers, in soups, etc. It is also excellent as a marinade for beef, chicken or fish.
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