Mulvaney’s B&L and Next Door at the B&L, Sacramento, CA
Patrick Mulvaney loves to showcase tender young carrots at the height of their season in Northern California, but found that each spring he was left with a mountain of tops heading straight to the compost bin. This bright green spaetzle keeps those tops out of the compost pile, and frying the peels helps him highlight the carrot from stem to tip.
Carrot Top Spaetzle:
- 1 bunch young carrots, tops removed, blanched and shocked
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
Crispy Carrot Skins:
- Canola oil for frying
- Carrot peels from 1 bunch carrots
- Rice flour
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 bunch small carrots, thinly sliced into coins
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon spring onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon spring garlic, sliced
- 1 to 2 ounce grated Gouda (like Cypress Grove’s Midnight Moon)
Remove the tops from one bunch of young carrots and measure out one packed cup for the spaetzle dough. (The rest of the tops can be reserved for another use in the freezer, or composted.) Peel the carrots and reserve the peels for the crispy carrot skins. Slice the carrots into coins and reserve for the last step of the recipe.
Make the spaetzle dough: Puree the carrot tops and eggs in blender until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Whisk in the flour until combined (the mixture will be a stiff paste). Drizzle in the milk while stirring with a wooden spoon to make a batter that should coat the back of a spoon. (You may not need all the milk.) Add a pinch each of salt and pepper and let the dough rest on the counter for at least 20 minutes.
Make the crispy carrot skins: heat enough oil to have a depth of 2 inches in a Dutch oven over high heat until it’s 350°F. Toss the washed and dried carrot peels in the rice flour. Shake off the excess and deep-fry in the hot oil until crispy. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and season to taste with salt. Set aside until ready to serve.
Make the noodles: put a large pot of salted water over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Use a wooden spoon to press the batter through a large-holed colander directly over the simmering water. Stir gently and wait for the spaetzle to rise to the top. Do this in two or three batches to avoid crowding the pot. When the spaetzle float to the top, reserve ¼ cup cooking water. Drain the noodles, and transfer to an ice water bath to shock them and stop the cooking. Drain and transfer the spaetzle to a baking sheet. Drizzle the teaspoon of canola oil on top and toss gently to prevent the spaetzle from sticking together.
In a large sauté pan, cook the thinly cut carrot coins, garlic, and onion in 1 tablespoon butter over low heat until cooked through but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a plate and turn the heat up to medium. Add the remaining butter. When it foams, add the cooked spaetzle and toss until they’re brown and toasty, about 5 minutes. Return the vegetables to the pan, add the cheese, and toss, using a bit of the cooking water to loosen the mix. Check for seasoning. Transfer everything to a serving platter, garnish with the crispy carrot skins, and serve immediately.
From Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food by The James Beard Foundation/Rizzoli Publishing.