Don’t let those carrot tops go to waste! This Halibut en Papillote with Carrot Top Pesto is a delicious way to enjoy them, with minimal effort and clean up.
There’s a little bird that has nested in one of the Italian cypress trees that flanks one side of our driveway. She’s built the most perfect little home, a wonder in itself, and to my amazement, she is perched at my children’s eye level. Needless to say, they are delighted, and you can’t help but carefully peek every time you pass the little tree, to see if she is there.
But pretty soon, she will have company. She has been laying eggs! Tiny little eggs – which my kids compare to those speckled Easter robin’s egg candies. When she flies away, I carefully sneak a peek, and she has been laying one egg a day. So far, there are five little eggs, and I wonder how much more she will lay? I joke that we have enough for a little baby omelet, organic and locally sourced. But do not worry, the eggs are safe.
She’s not the only bird that has taken residence in our yard. There’s another nest in a tree across the way, as well as a bird that has made a home in our arbor. They’ve all been very busy, and when they fly about, I really sense that spring is in the air.
HOW TO COOK HALIBUT IN PARCHMENT PAPER
With these beautiful days and new life around us, it’s time to eat lighter. The halibut is simply perfect this time of year – so fresh and plentiful – and I’ve returned to one of my favorite ways of preparing it: en papillote. The fish is baked in parchment and it’s the simplest way to keep things light and healthy – and perhaps the best part is how serving it in en papillote means easier clean up, too.
Chopped leeks are placed on a sheet of folded parchment and then the fillets, carrots, and reserved carrot tops are arranged alongside. After adding the pesto and a drizzle of wine, the parchment is folded into packets and baked. The perfectly cooked fillets can be served right from the parchment paper packets!
HOW TO MAKE CARROT TOP PESTO
I’ve been holding on to my carrot tops as I am realizing more and more that they’re more delicious eaten than thrown into the compost bin. By now you may have heard that carrot top pesto is a thing – and it’s a great way to use up your carrot tops if you don’t have little bunnies to feed. I used some in this simple recipe for Halibut en Papillote with Carrot Top Pesto, and it infused the fish with a delicate flavor that is perfect for this time of year.
Carrot top pesto comes together quickly. Just gather all the ingredients (carrots tops, basil, garlic, etc.) into a food processor and process. Blend in olive oil and it’s ready!
Have you tried carrot top pesto? It goes well beyond fish – try it in soups, on chicken, roasted vegetables, and more.
MORE FISH RECIPES
Halibut en Papillote with Carrot Top Pesto
- 2 cups carrot tops rinsed and dried
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup toasted almonds
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 small leek sliced once lengthwise, then cross cut in 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 lb halibut divided into 2 fillets
- 1-2 carrots sliced
- 1 tablespoon white wine or substitute chicken broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- Reserve a few springs of carrot tops for the papillote.
- Place the remaining carrots tops, basil, garlic, almond, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor, and process until smooth. With the food processor running, add the remaining olive oil slowly, until it is well blended. If you desire more creaminess, you may need to use a little more olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Swirl and soak the sliced leeks in a bowl of cool water, and let them sit to release any soil. Remove the leeks that have floated to the top and drain on some paper towels. Set aside.
- Season halibut on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Take two pieces of parchment paper, about 12×16 inches. Fold in half along the longer side. Place the leeks along the fold, then lay the fillets on top. Arrange the carrots and the reserved carrot tops along the sides of the fish. Spread about two tablespoons of the pesto on each fillet. Drizzle with wine or broth.
- Fold the parchment paper, creating tight seams and making sure the ends are secure. Place in a baking dish or pan and put in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Simply serve the fish in their packets, served with extra pesto, if you wish.