On Christmas Day at my brother and sister-in-law's house, I spied the most beautiful dish of smoked salmon with all of the garnishes. I fell in love with the color of the red onion against the green capers and the bright color of the fish itself. I decided to take this idea and make a vegetable version using the Christmas salmon as inspiration.
So, yesterday, when I was showing off our carrot "lox" plate, my dad exclaimed, "That's the most beautiful piece of salmon I've ever seen."
"Yes, it is," I thought deviously, "yes, it truly is!"
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 conversion piece.
Carrot "Lox" with Red Onion, Capers, Dill, and Créme Fraîche
1 pound organic 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)
Peel and very thinly slice the carrots longways on a mandolin. 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.
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 or 4 as a main dish -- maybe add some mashed potatoes and asparagus on the side.)
*Once you've diced the onion, place 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.