Thought your smoked salmon days were over? Fear not, the hardy carrot has proven itself a worthy contender!
‘Lox’ refers to the curing and smoking of a salmon fillet, which is usually piled on top of a cream cheese bagel. The salty smokiness pairs perfectly with the creaminess of the cheese. You’re right, this does not sound at all vegan, but I fully believe that vegans shouldn’t have to forgo taste. It is possible to recreate the smoky, soft, flakey salmon-style fillet using a simple CARROT.
Not only does the carrot lox provide a suitable alternative for a salmon bagel, but it also works just as well on a blini (see my Instagram post) and would be great as a fish substitute in many of your old favourite recipes – think paella or fish pie.
Curing can be a long process, so I have developed a quick and simple method to produce similar results by first steaming the carrots before marinating and then baking. The thickness of the carrot is up to you and can vary depending on what it is you are using it for – just as long as you adjust the cooking time to suit. I prefer grating the carrot in long slices to use on the blinis as this creates a much more delicate product. For a more substantial ‘fish’ substitute, I like to use a mandolin with the 3mm setting on.
Just like curing fish, it will get tastier and flakier the longer you leave it after cooking!
Liquid Smoke versus Smoked Paprika
In this recipe I highlight the possibility of using either of these products to create a smoked flavour in the carrots. The smoked paprika I feel is best for salmon lox bagels and the liquid smoke is better at creating a fishier product, e.g. smoked haddock alternative (keep an eye out for my ‘Vedgeree’ recipe in a few days).
RECIPE – CARROT LOX
2 tsp Smoked Paprika or Liquid Smoke (see above)
2 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Lemon Juice (approx. 1 Lemon)
1 Sheet of Sushi Nori (crumbled)
4 tsp Agave
Sprig of Dill
1. Grate/slice the carrots to your desired thickness.
2. Coat the carrot slices in the salt (use your hands here) and then steam for about 10 minutes, or roughly 5 minutes if grated finely. They should be soft, but still retain a little bite.
3. Let the carrots cool before adding it to an oven dish with the rest of the ingredients (except sushi nori). Rub the ingredients in and then bake for about 15 minutes at 180°C. A few minutes before you take the carrots out from the oven, stir in the crumbled sushi nori.
4. Leave to cool and then put into the fridge until required (it should last for a week in the fridge). The flavours develop over time, so the longer you keep it, the better it gets!
Serve on top of a freshly toasted bagel with vegan cream cheese. Garnish with a few capers and a fresh sprig of dill.