All too often, the tops and stems of herbs and vegetables are tossed in the trash or compost, but these gems are not only edible they’re loaded with flavor and nutrients! Carrot, beet, radish, and fennel tops, the stems of cilantro, parsley, dill, and when in season, garlic scapes all come together in a beautiful medley of flavor when simmered in garlicky olive oil. Once cooled, blend it up and enjoy as a savory spread on bread or crackers, add a dollop to a soup or stew, or swirl into hummus for a lively appetizer. Play around with the herb and top combination, and enjoy!
1 bunch carrot tops
1 bunch fennel tops
1 bunch dill
1 bunch (about 8) garlic scapes
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil (or more if necessary)
Salt and pepper to taste
Steam tops, herbs and garlic until tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool, then remove greens and garlic. Separate garlic and mash with a fork until creamy.
Heat oil over medium and add garlic. Cook until just softened (do not allow it to burn or the garlic will become too bitter).
Chop the greens and add them to the oil and garlic mixture. Cook at a low simmer for about 45 minutes, frequently stirring and mashing with a wooden spoon. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a food processor and blend until your desired consistency.
If not eaten immediately, refrigerator in a tightly sealed container or freeze in jars. Bring back to room temperature before serving.