This carrot and parsnip tart might not be your immediate idea of a spring dish, but with salad leaves and a carrot top salsa verde, it becomes a lot lighter and more spring-like.
For most people, root vegetables belong in either a stew or a Sunday roast. They’re thought of as being hearty and robust, yet simply changing the way you prepare them makes them a whole lot more delicate. This dish uses ribbons of carrots and parsnips to create little spirals within a shortcrust pastry case, making root vegetables just a little bit… sexier?
And the vinegar in the carrot top salsa verde really cuts through the sweetness of the root vegetables.
And have you ever tried carrot tops before? To me they taste like slightly carrot-y parsley; they’re really quite delicious, so I’m not sure why all our carrots these days are… topless.
But I did manage to spot some with their tops on at my local market. They were winking at me from across the square, screaming “salsa verde”. So here we are.
Parsley is the key ingredient in a salsa verde, but I substitute the parsley for carrot tops because… well, like I said earlier, to me they already taste a lot like parsley. But what’s great is that you’re making something delicious from part of the vegetable that’s usually thrown away and that can only be a good thing!
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For the tart:
- 4 large carrots
- 2 large parsnips
- 1 sheet of shortcrust pastry
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
For the carrot top salsa verde:
- 2 handfuls of carrot tops
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 5 green olives (pitted) – optional
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C and bring a saucepan of water to the boil.
While you’re waiting for the water to heat up, begin preparing the vegetables. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the carrots and 1 of the parsnips into ribbons. You’ll be left with a ‘core’, which you can’t make ribbons from. Chop these into cubes and put them in the saucepan. Chop the other parsnip into cubes as well and put this in the saucepan too.
While the veg is boiling, start creating the carrot and parsnip spirals by wrapping the ribbons around one finger. The carrots will keep their shape easily but, where the parsnips are concerned, you will need to run the ribbons under the tap to wet them first.
When the boiled veg is tender, remove from the heat and drain the water from the saucepan.
Mash the vegetables with a potato masher and season well with salt and pepper.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
While you’re waiting, place the sheet of shortcrust pastry inside a 25cm flan tin and par-bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and spoon in the cooled mashed veg, spreading it evenly over the base of the tart.
Arrange your spirals inside the pastry case – the mashed veg will help them to stay put. Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the vegetable spirals are tender.
While it’s baking, make the carrot top salsa verde.
Put all the ingredients (minus half the carrot tops) in a food processor or power blender and blitz until smooth. I use the little jug of my Optimum G2.3*. Then, roughly chop the carrot tops you set aside and stir these through the salsa to add texture. Alternatively, you can make the salsa verde the traditional way – using a mortar and pestle.
When the tart is cooked, serve immediately with salad leaves and the carrot top salsa verde.