Roasted Carrots with Salsa Verde

It's amazing how different the growers' market in Santa Fe is from Albuquerque at this time of year. While we're seeing the first cucumbers and zucchini thriving in the heat down here, it's peas, kale, and even fennel up there, from growers as far north as Abiquiu and Dixon. The effects of a couple thousand feet of elevation and one degree of latitude are dramatic. A few lovely things you can find at both markets are sweet onions, carrots, fresh garlic, and all kinds of fresh herbs. One of my favorite ways to use fresh herbs is salsa verde, a classic Italian sauce. It's a piquant complement to the hearty, caramelized sweetness of roasted carrots.

The basic recipe for salsa verde is just parsley, lemon zest, capers, and olive oil, but many other herbs can give it an unusual twist. Tarragon is particularly nice with carrots, thyme and marjoram are wonderful with anything, and mint is surprisingly excellent with vegetables. If you're feeling wild, try lovage for a strong celery flavor, especially with beets. Or venture into the world of lemon-flavored herbs, such as lemon basil, lemon thyme, lemon balm, or lemon verbena. If you're interested in starting your own herb garden, I recently discovered Osuna Nursery has an incredible selection of unusual culinary herbs! A good rule of thumb is to start with at least half parsley, then experiment from there.

1 lb carrots
1 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 T. capers
1/2 C. parsley (substitute up to half other herbs)
Zest of one lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 t. salt

Cut carrots into similar-sized pieces about 4 inches long and 1/2 inch thick. Toss with olive oil and roast at 400°F about 30 minutes, until they are soft and caramelized at the edges. (I actually use a toaster oven to avoid heating up the kitchen too much).

Finely chop garlic, capers, herbs and lemon zest, either by hand or in a food processor. Mix with olive oil and salt. Toss a few spoonfuls with the carrots, and save the rest for another use!


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