When the first fresh carrots and celeriac show up at our CSA or Farmers’ Market, the greens are young and tender and can be used as herbs or combined into purees and soups. The carrot greens can also be turned into pesto. Last year, I unwittingly created a family joke when I served carrot greens pesto with roasted baby carrots, declaring that I haven’t met a vegetable that I didn’t want to roast. Well, I don’t want to repeat my exaggeration by saying that I turn an amazing variety of green into pesto, but it’s true.
Last year, I also made a delicious celeriac soup that used not only the bulb but also the stalks and leaves, and a carrot soup with its greens. This year, I made a carrot and celeriac soup base that was so thick that I first served it with roast chicken as a puree and then thinned it out into a soup, combined in both cases with pesto made from the leaves. I had first thought to make this a creamed soup but chickened out. The thickness and creaminess were contributed by a couple of small potatoes. You could use water or chicken stock to make the puree or soup, but I used vegetable broth brewed from the trimmings of the ingredients and a few stray veggies.
Carrot and Celeriac Roots and Greens: Puree and/or Soup
3 medium carrots, with greens
1 small onion, diced (reserve the trimmings)
1 bulb of celeriac with greens
3 small yellow or red potatoes
Water and or vegetable broth (optional substitution: chicken stock)
Butter or olive oil
Make the vegetable broth. Trim and peel the carrot, reserving the peels. Trim and dice the onion, reserving the leftover pieces. Cut the greens from the celeriac and chop the stems and a few leaves. Peel the potatoes, reserving the peels, and place the peeled potatoes in cold water to keep them from discoloring. Place the trimmings in a saucepan and cover them with vegetable broth or water (add additional trimmings if using water or the broth will be weak). Salt it lightly Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. You will need 3-5 cups of liquid depending on whether you are making a puree or soup.
Prepare and cook the vegetables for the puree or soup. Cut the peeled carrots and potatoes into small dice. Peel and cut the celeriac into small dice. Heat the butter or oil in a large saucepan and add the vegetables until they start to soften. Add the vegetable broth (or water or chicken stock) and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft. Puree in a food processor or in the pan using an immersion blender.
Prepare the pesto. Place a handful of carrot greens and a few leaves (the most tender, please) of celeriac leaves in a food processor, mini chopper or blender. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and puree into a pesto.
Assemble the dish. Add the pesto to the puree or soup, adjust the salt level and serve hot.