Roasted Carrot Grilled Cheese with Carrot Top Pesto
Holy crap, this was the bomb diggity. Yeah, I went there. It’s the exact phrase that popped into my head as I sunk my teeth into this scrumptious sammy. Bomb. Diggity. I know at first glance it looks a little odd, but sometimes that’s exactly what it takes to create something mind blowing.
I came across the recipe thanks to my CSA bounty for this week. In it was a beautiful bunch of stumpy little carrots. I’m not sure what they’re called and I of course forgot to take a picture before hacking them up, but here’s one from someone else’s blog. Of course, I figured I could use the carrots in just about anything calling for carrots, but I was determined to put their leafy green tops to use, too. A little Googling and I stumbled upon this gem. 30 minutes of kitchen excitement later, and I had reached the official moment of bomb diggity. Seriously, hit up your local farmers market THIS WEEKEND and prepare to be amazed.
- tops from one bunch of carrots, stems removed, rinsed and dried well
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves
- carrots from one bunch, left whole, rinsed but not peeled, root and stems cut off (although my carrots were stubby little guys, I think any carrot will work perfectly fine, as long as they come with the greens attached)
- a drizzle of olive oil
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 8 slices of bread (I used my go-to sandwich bread, Ezekiel)
- 12 ounces soft, fresh (un-aged) Asiago cheese, slices thin or shredded (I found it easier to slice it, since it was so soft)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Toss whole carrots with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the carrots and your preference. I find raw carrots revolting, so I cooked my stubby little guys for 25 minutes, until they were pretty soft, but not collapsing.
- While carrots roast, make pesto. Place greens, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until creamy and pesto-y. Set aside.
- Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Spread pesto on the OPPOSITE side of FOUR of the slices. Add 1/8 of the cheese to the four pesto-topped slices.
- Thinly slice the roasted carrots. Top each of the four pesto/cheese slices with 1/4 of the carrots. If you used huge carrots, you may not want to use them all. You’re looking for a single layer of carroty goodness. Add remaining cheese and then the remaining 4 slices of bread, with butter facing out.
- Heat a grill pan, cast iron skillet, or regular skillet over medium heat. Add sandwiches and grill on one side until bread is browned and cheese is getting melty, about 3-5 minutes. Carefully flip the sandwiches and grill 3-5 more minutes, until fully melty and delicious.