Minced carrot-tops with basil, garlic and parmigiano-reggiano make the perfect dip for carrots - or any other veggie!
Makes 1 scant cup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons cultured buttermilk
1 clove garlic
1 ounce finely shredded parmigiano-reggiano (about 1/4 cup tightly packed)
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons minced carrot top leaves (from about 4-6 carrots)
1 Tablespoon minced basil
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt, to taste
A few grinds of black pepper, to taste
1. Combine the mayonnaise and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Use a microplane to finely grate the garlic clove into the dressing. Add the cheese, carrot tops and basil, stirring to combine thoroughly.
2. Taste and add a pinch or two of salt as needed, along with a few grinds of black pepper. Serve right away or keep covered in the refrigerator for up to a few days.
Carrot tops have a slightly bitter, herby flavor, and actually taste vaguely of carrots! If you buy carrots with the tops attached, this is a good sign your carrots are very fresh. Cut them off within an inch or two of the carrots as soon as you get them home. (Otherwise, they'll continue to draw out nutrients and leave you with soft, wilted carrots.)
Store the carrot tops in an open plastic storage bag with the leaves facing in and the stems hanging out (if they're long enough to hang out). Carrot tops will keep in the refrigerator this way for several days.
This dip is the kind of thing that improves with sitting. Make it an hour before serving, or up to a day ahead, to let the flavors mingle. Taste and adjust the seasonings before serving.