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Roasted Heirloom Carrots with Cashew Ricotta and Carrot-Top Tarragon Puree

Sean Baker, Executive Chef at Gather restaurant in Berkeley, describes his cooking style as “vegetable focused.” In this recipe he features the whole carrot—the roots are roasted and the tops are pureed with fresh herbs, olive oil and lemon juice. He suggests using Purple Haze or Nantes variety. You will not need all of the cashew ricotta and carrot-top puree for this dish; refrigerate the rest for another use.

At the restaurant, Chef Baker prepares a confit by slow cooking green garlic in olive oil, as described below. If you can’t find green garlic, he says you can omit the confit and simply make a vinaigrette by whisking 1 Tbs. lemon juice into 2 Tbs. garlic-infused olive oil.

Ingredients:

For the green garlic confit:

  • 5 medium stalks green garlic, cut into 1/4-inch rounds (reserve
      green tops for another use)
  • Olive oil as needed

For the carrots:

  • 3 bunches medium carrots, about 2 lb., peeled and cut into
      1-inch pieces, tops reserved
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the cashew ricotta:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in warm water overnight
  • 2 1/2 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt, to taste

For the carrot-top tarragon puree:

  • 1 bunch reserved carrot tops
  • 3/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • Leaves from 1 bunch fresh tarragon
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste
  •  
  • Fresh lemon juice, as needed
  • 2 oz. watercress

Directions:

To make the green garlic confit, place the green garlic in a sauté pan and cover with olive oil. Set over medium heat and heat until the oil starts to bubble. Reduce the heat to low and cook, checking every 30 minutes, until the garlic is soft, about 4 hours. Let cool.

To roast the carrots, preheat an oven to 400°F. In a bowl, toss the carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven until tender, about 25 minutes. Set aside.

To make the cashew ricotta, drain the cashews and discard the soaking water. Place the cashews in a food processor, add the nutritional yeast and slowly add the 3 cups water, processing until the cashews are broken down to the consistency of ricotta cheese. Adjust the seasoning with salt.

To make the carrot-top tarragon puree, bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Roughly chop the 1 bunch reserved carrot tops, add to the boiling water and cook for 9 to 12 minutes. Drain and shock in a bowl of ice water. When the carrot tops are cool, squeeze out the water until completely dry. Place in a blender and add the parsley, tarragon, garlic clove, olive oil and lemon juice. Blend until very smooth. Adjust the seasoning with salt.

To assemble, place the roasted carrots and the green garlic confit in a bowl. Add a touch of lemon juice to balance the oil. Add the watercress and toss lightly. Place a line of the cashew ricotta on a plate. Drizzle with a little tarragon puree and place the carrots and watercress on top. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Recipe by Sean Baker, Executive Chef, Gather, Berkeley, CA.