One fateful day, we spied the most beautiful dish of smoked salmon with all of the garnishes and fell in love with the color of the red onion against the green capers and the bright color of the fish itself. So we decided to take this idea and make a vegetable version using salmon as inspiration and carrots for the end result.
Now, what we did here is actually pretty simple. The thin slices of carrot get the same sort of cure one might use on a fish. It’s simply a mix of salt, pepper, and brown sugar. We used smoked salt to save the extra step of smoking the dish on the smoker, and the result’s great. In fact, these may the the best carrots you’ve ever had. So put this out at your next gathering or party. It makes a delicious conversation piece.
1 pound carrots (about 5 to 6 large)
2 teaspoons smoked sea salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
2 large eggs (beaten)
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Diced red onion*, capers (in salt or brine), fresh dill, créme fraîche, lemon wedges (to garnish)
Serves 6 to 8
Peel and very thinly slice the carrots longways on a mandoline slicer. In a small bowl combine the smoked salt, brown sugar, and black pepper. Layer the carrot slices in a large bowl and add a pinch of the spice mixture to each layer until all of the carrot slices and spice mixture are used up. Set this aside for 30 minutes. The salt will soften the carrots and leach out much of their liquid.
Remove the carrots from the bowl and discard the liquid and spices that have gathered at the bottom. Add the carrots, eggs, and lemon zest back to the bowl and toss to coat each strand with egg.
Line a 1/4-sheet pan with parchment paper and brush it with olive oil. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Starting with a long strand of carrot, lay it flat across the parchment paper. Continue to lay the carrots one after the other overlapping them almost completely. Pair shorter strands together to span the length of the dish. Once all the carrots are laid out, brush the top with the egg that remains in the bottom of the bowl.
Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil to seal in the moisture. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until carrots are just tender. Keep covered and allow it to cool completely.
Uncover and slice it down the middle using a sharp knife. Serve at room temperature garnished with red onion, capers, and fresh dill. Add créme fraîche and lemon wedges on the side. Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer.
*Once you’ve diced the onion, place it in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes and drain. This will wash away any of the astringent taste associated with raw onion. It’s a good idea to do the same to the capers.