The Whole Carrot.
This #dinneratmidnite consists of the two foods that comprise most of my diet: vegetables and steak.
This recipe is brought to you by The Kitchen Ecosystem, by Eugenia Bone, a cookbook that I am just starting to delve in to. I looooooove her philosophy about using ingredients in as many different ways as possible and utilizing the whole vegetable to eliminate waste. I have been receiving carrots with their greens in my CSA box all summer, and have attempted to utilize these beautiful and flavorful greens with varying (but never outstanding) degrees of sucess. I've also had to throw out old greens many times after leaving them unused in the refrigerator for far too long. So I was stoked when I spotted this recipe for carrot top pesto! Even better that Bone pairs it with flank steak- I love steak and have been craving it lately. Maybe because it's getting colder (uuuuugggghhhhh), maybe because I'm a blood-thirsty vampire. Who can say for sure.
So, the first thing I did was get my steak marinating before I headed off to work. Marinating the morning of or the night before is ideal, but as long as you get an hour of marinating in, you're good. You could totally grab all the ingredients for this meal on your way home from work, marinate your steak while you whip up the pesto and salad (or desired side dish), have time to sit down with a glass of wine (or tea or whiskey or whatever), Maybe watch an epi on Netflix, then cook up your steak and you're in business. The cook time for the steak, once all your other components are done, is only 15m. 10 to cook the steak (though personally I go for a bit less time since I like my steak superrare), 5 to let it rest. Then slice and enjoy.
Now the pesto. The big difference with Bone's recipe is that she calls for blanching the greens so they are a bit less grassy. I never thought carrot greens were TOO grassy or anything, but the flavor of the blanched greens was fantastic. I will say that the final pesto was hellllllllllllla garlicky. Which I love. But it was intense. My poor boyfriend, who is much more sensitive to garlic then I, practically choked. To which I was like sweet more for me. That being said, when I make this again I will probably try it with roasted garlic instead of raw- if for no other reason than to attempt to convince my man to eat my food.
To complete the whole-carrot-ness of this meal I opted to serve it with a super simple shaved carrot salad. I recieved purple carrots in this week's CSA, so the resulting salad had a gorgeous orange/purple tinted color. For the salad I simply used a vegetable peeler to shave about 4 carrots, then tossed them with a drizzle of olive oil, juice from about a third of a lemon, and salt and pepper. It was bright and fresh and paired nicely with the richness of the steak. Yum.
Flank Steak with Carrot Top Pesto
For the Steak:
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
3 Tablespoons olive oil
small bunch fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
juice from 1/2 a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons safflower or other cooking oil
Carrot Top Pesto, to serve
Throw the steak, olive oil, thyme, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a sturdy ziplock-style bag (I used a kroger brand freezer bag) and marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 24. If you are going to marinate for longer than 1 hour, toss the bag in the refrigerator, then remove an hour before cooking to let it come to room temperature. If you only have an hour to marinate before you need to eat, leave it out on the counter. If you aren't letting your steak come to room temp before you cook it you are seriously putting yourself at a disadvantage. Trust me on this one. You must do it.
When steak is room temp and you're ready to cook it, heat up the safflower oil in a large heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) or grill pan over high heat. Once that pan and oil is REALLY HOT (don't rush this, let it get hot af), Take your steak out of the bag and place it in the pan. Don't worry if there's a lil garlic or thyme stuck to it. Cook to desired doneness- for medium rare this would be about 5 minutes per side. I did about 3.5 ish minutes per side, as I like my steak raaaaaaare. Poke your steak to check for doneness and use your judgement. If you're a steak novice I especially encourage you to monitor how your steak feels when you poke it as you go- this will help you figure out your steak's doneness and in the future will help you figure out how long to cook all sorts of different pieces of beef of various shapes and sizes. Get comfortable with this. I like my steak to still have plenty of give when I poke it in the pan, but to be nicely browned- the high temperature is crucial for this!
When you feel your steak is done, take it out the pan and place on a plate or cutting board to rest for 5 minutes. Tent with foil if you're concerned about it getting cold- don't tent if you're concerned that it might be too well done, or more done than you'd like it. With a v sharp knife, thinly slice the steak against the grain at an angle.
Serve warm or room temperature, with.....
Carrot Top Pesto
adapted from The Kitchen Ecosystem
greens from one medium bunch of carrots
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon slivered almonds
2 garlic cloves, raw or roasted
squeeze of fresh lemon juice to taste
Pull the feathery leaves off the tough stems. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, and when it boils prepare a medium bowl of ice water to set next to it. Dump the greens in to the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute. Use a spider or small strainer to remove the greens from the boiling water and dump them in the ice water. The greens will reduce quite a bit, this is totally fine. Squeeze the excess water out of your greens, then throw the greens in a blender or food processor (I used a regular blender), and add the remaining ingredients including salt to taste. Blend to a puree. I had a hard time getting the mixture going in the blender, so I added another glug of olive oil- I was expecting to have to balance out the seasoning with more lemon or salt, but it ended up turning out perfect. Start with 3 tablespoons olive oil in the blender and add more as needed to get things going. When all is blended and beautiful, taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Feel good about yourself because you utilized the whole carrot and made it into a damn fine meal.