July and August are typically the peak months of fresh local produce in New England. Finding unique ways to prepare the variety of greens, carrots, squash, zucchini, eggplant, corn and other vegetables can be challenging.
Enter the grill. Summer in New England means outdoor cooking, which has the added benefit of keeping your kitchen cool. Whether you are cooking on a charcoal, propane or wood fire, preparing vegetables over an open flame offers a tasty alternative to the boiling, steaming and roasting methods usually relied upon for vegetable cookery.
The following recipe offers a new take on preparing your vegetables outdoors, including grilling your picnic-table salads. Take a risk and grill that kale!
GRILLED CARROT SALAD WITH CARROT GREENS PESTO AND SUNFLOWER KERNELS
Start to finish: 15-20 minutes
SALAD AND CARROT PESTO
1 large bunch fresh carrots
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup hard cheese, such as Parmesan or Romano, finely grated
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Wash and peel the carrots, setting aside the greens. Slice the carrots lengthwise and set aside.
2. Blanch the carrot greens: Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil and season with salt, about a tablespoon for every quart of water. Once boiling, add the carrot greens for 15-20 seconds. Immediately strain and soak the carrot greens in ice-cold water. Set aside to dry.
3. While the carrot greens dry, add half of the sunflower kernels (1/4 cup) to your food processor and gently pulse. Then add the garlic clove and grated cheese. Slowly mix in the sunflower oil. Once processed, add the carrot greens. This mixture will be thick, so slowly add in 1/4 cup of cold water to thin out, and use more if needed. Set the pesto aside.
4. On a very hot grilled plate, with the carrots cut-side down, cook for 4-5 minutes. Once the carrots become lightly charred and are slightly tender, set aside on a plate. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar and 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
5. This salad will be best served individually plated, with a large spoon of the pesto spread on the plate and a serving of the carrots piled on top. Garnish with the remaining sunflower kernels and enjoy with some crusty grilled bread.
Check back next month for more recipes from Christopher and Marc.
While working for Mill City Grows, Christopher Horne was a FoodCorps service member and taught gardening and cooking classes to Lowell students. In 2017, Christopher graduated from The Farm School’s learn-to-farm program and now runs a half-acre market garden business that offers a small CSA service. He sells his produce to local restaurants in the Merrimack Valley area. Learn more at HorneFarms.com.
Marc Horne is a lifelong Lowell resident. He works as a community development professional, developing affordable housing in the Merrimack Valley for nonprofit organizations. Marc also assists his brother, Christopher, with farming operations at Horne Family Farms in any way he can. His personal interests are strongly centered on food and the natural environment, especially cooking family dinners with local agricultural products.