Carrot top and potato soup
Chef Tom Hunt has a column in the Guardian called Waste Not, and every week he discusses one ingredient we throw away that we could make use of. Recently he touched on carrot tops, which you very often don't see unless you grow your own carrots, and included an interesting recipe for Carrot top chimichurri, An Argentinian green sauce/salsa.
One of the comments (and I really suggest you don't read the comments section of the Guardian if you have problems with your blood pressure!) pointed readers towards the rather wonderful carrot museum website, which has a WW2 entry on carrot top cuisine:
During World War Two the British Ministry of Food were always trying to find new recipes and alternative foodstuffs for those not available. They came up with Carrot Tops and Potato Soup.
This is the extract from the Kitchen Front broadcast of 11 July 1942
"The other day I was looking at a row of carrots in my garden, trying to make up my mind whether or not to start thinning them. It seemed a pity to pull up the little things that were hardly fit to eat, but on the other hand if I left them any longer none of them would ever be fit to eat, so in the end I decided. to be hard and ruthless. So up they came - tiny little roots no thicker than a baby’s finger. I put those in a salad just as they were, after washing them of course, though they didn't go very far they were lovely and crunchy and sweet. The feathery green tops were still lying on the kitchen table when I came out to start the washing up after lunch.
My first impulse was to put then in the bucket for the rabbits, but on second thoughts they looked too good and tender even for my sweetest baby rabbits, so I decided to try and do something with them for supper for ourselves. What I did in the end, was to make a carrot-top and potato soup, and though it tasted quite different from anything we'd tried before, we liked it very much, and I felt extremely bucked at having invented a new dish. It was very easy to make, and this is how I did it. I happened to have some stock in the larder, so I put it in a saucepan and while it was coming to the boil chopped up the feathery carrot tops on the board, quite roughly, and peeled four large old potatoes.
As soon as the stock boiled I added the carrot tops and then the potatoes, cut into dice. Then I left the soup simmering with the lid on. After about twenty minutes the potato cubes were cooked, and I then added a little milk, and thickened the soup with some flour. A good pinch of some and it was ready. We each had a large plateful and some bread and cheese to go with it., and felt we had really discovered something – a carrot dish that did not taste at all like carrots, but was extraordinarily good all the same."
I have nibbled on carrot tops before, and... they're probably an acquired taste. But the soup sounds interesting, and I do have some carrots with nice looking leaves in the garden. What do you think - worth a try?