One bunch of carrot tops can have grassy, lovely, sour flavors. One bunch of beets can have super sweet tops. Then, all that can change. You have to taste the tops and make sure they are on point. When you shop for this salad you want to know about the tops more than the vegetables they are attached to! You are also, hopefully, going to use tops that are hanging around in your fridge. If you have some “droopy” tops, refresh them by soaking in cold water for 20-30 minutes. Then, dry them and cut into the salad. You also need a neutral green, like peppery arugula, mixed in that acts as a home base for all the flavors. The walnuts are best when crushed from whole pieces and untoasted here. They add to the richness of the dressing and round out the bitter edges from the vegetable tops.
3cupsvegetable tops, trimmed of stems, coarsely chopped(Note 1)
½cupfinely grated Pecorino cheese
Make the dressing:
Use a rolling pin to lightly crush the walnuts into smaller pieces inside the bag. (If loose, put them in a plastic bag) In a large bowl, whisk the walnuts, Cognac, pepper flakes and red wine vinegar with a generous pinch salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Taste for seasoning.
Make the salad:
Toss the greens with the dressing. Drizzle with the honey and cheese. Serve immediately.
1: (Examples: 1/2 cup smallish carrot tops, ½ cup turnip or radish tops, 2 cups beet tops) (1/2 cup smallish carrot tops, ½ cup parsley leaves, 2 cups beet tops) You can also mix in other greens like Swiss chard and kale, trimmed of stems and coarsely chopped; flat parsley leaves or celery leaves from the heart are a fun addition too)