The leafy green fronds that grow above ground on carrots are an under-rated fresh herb that you should never throw out; with pine nuts, they give this healthy, easy side dish an unusual burst of garden-fresh flavor and nutrients. Millet, if you’re unfamiliar with it, is a small, couscous-like ancient whole grain with a nutty flavor; it’s gluten-free and pairs well with earthy mushrooms and carrots.
2 cups whole grain millet
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided use
4 cups vegetable stock
1 bunch scallions, washed, dried and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, washed, stems removed, sliced thinly
1 bunch (about 1 pound) fresh carrots, with their green fronds
1/4 cup pine nuts
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Wash carrots, cut off and reserve fronds. Peel the carrots and cut them into fine dice. Chop the fronds as you would chives.
Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC. Place pine nuts on a dry baking sheet and toast until light brown, about 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Heat the broth to warm but not boiling. In a covered 3 or 4 quart saucepan, warm 1 T. of the oil and then add the millet. Stir the millet in the warm oil for 4 minutes until it toasts and smells like popcorn. Add the broth, stir and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, on low heat (just simmering) for 25 minutes. When all liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and fluff with a spoon.
While millet is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Heat remaining 2 T. oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add scallions and garlic and sauté for 90 seconds. Stir in carrots and mushrooms. Add the lemon juice, and a tablespoon or two of water if pan is dry. Stir fry until carrots and mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Add chopped carrot fronds and cook for another minute or two until they are wilted. Season vegetables with salt and pepper to taste. Remove pan from heat.
Mix cooked millet with vegetable mixture, adding a little olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Top with pine nuts and serve.