Today I have an amazing plant-based starter and recipe to share with you thanks to Karoline of Flavamingo. I’ve sampled these blinis on a number of occasions and believe me when I say they are mouthwateringly good – never mind beautiful to look at! I love the way the carrots have the same texture as smoked salmon and taste surprisingly similar. I haven’t made my own batch yet but I can’t wait to give this recipe a try and impress my guests.
Scroll down for the recipe and click here for a printable PDF version.
An explosion of colour and flavour. The humble carrot is transformed into silky and buttery ‘lox’ with a round of salt baking and then marinading. These blinis are sure to impress and even fool your guests into thinking they’re eating smoked salmon blinis!
This dish requires a bit of planning, as the carrots should ideally be made two days in advance.
The caviar can be made ahead and will keep well if stored in oil.
The aquafaba mayo can also be made several days in advance.
The blinis are best made on the day, but if made earlier they can simply be reheated in the oven.
ROOIBOS INFUSED & SALT BAKED CARROTS
500 g salt *
3 to 4 large carrots
5 rooibos tea bags (optional)
Drizzle of olive oil
Squeeze of lemon
- Preheat oven to 200°
- Combine the salt and loose rooibos leaves and pour enough of the mix to cover the surface of a small baking dish. Place the carrots on the salt bed and then cover completely with the remaining salt, ensuring that the carrots are not touching the surfaces of the dish or other carrots.
- Roast for about 45 minutes and allow to cool slightly before removing the carrots from the salt shell and brushing off all the salt.
- Peel away the skin (I find it easiest to do this with my fingers) and then thinly slice the carrots.
- Place the sliced carrots in a dish and cover with a generous drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
- Leave to marinade for at least 6 hours and up to several days.
* I use coarse sea salt, but any will do.
TIP: Save the salt to be reused for the next batch.
BEETROOT & GIN CAVIAR
200 ml neutral vegetable oil
150 ml beetroot juice
½ tsp agar agar powder
1 tbsp gin (optional)
- Pour the vegetable oil into a tall glass jar and place upright in the freezer for an hour to chill.
- Pour the juice and agar into a small pot and bring to the boil, whisking constantly
(don’t be scared to let it really boil), then remove and whisk in the gin.
- Leave mixture to cool for about four minutes.
- Using a dropper (glass pipettes from the chemist work great) or a plastic squeeze bottle, drop the juice into the oil, drop by drop. The chilled juice drops will solidify as they make contact with the chilled oil, slowly sinking to the bottom of the jar. If the oil is not chilled enough, the drops will sink too fast and will not solidify.
- When ready to serve, strain the pearls through a fine sieve.
TIP: If the juice-agar mixture starts to set before you are finished making the caviar, simply return to the heat and mix until it is liquid again.
SPELT BLINIS (makes 35 to 40)
1 1/2 cups dairy-free milk
2 tbsp oil 1
1/3 cup spelt (or all-purpose) flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt
- Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend for a few seconds until combined
(for best results, I leave the mix to rest for about 30 mins before frying)
- Pour the pancake mix into a heated ungreased pan and when the batter has turned from pale white to light yellow, it’s time to flip the blini. If the pancake is still too pale, or uneven and dark, adjust the heat accordingly – you want a perfectly even, golden colour with a pale rim. It can take a few pancakes to get it just right! If the batter is a little thick, add a tablespoon or two of water.
¼ cup chickpea brine (from a can of chickpeas)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp maple syrup (or sugar)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¾ cup neutral oil
- Combine ¼ cup chickpea liquid (aquafaba) and add vinegar, salt, sweetener, lemon juice and mustard in a large measuring cup. Blend with a hand mixer (on high) or an immersion blender until smooth.
- Slowly drizzle the oil into the bowl/cup and mix/blend until it resembles mayonnaise, this can take 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the equipment you are using.
- Taste and adjust flavor as needed.
- Add a dollop of Aquafaba mayo to each blini, top with a few slices of carrot and decorate with ‘caviar’ pearls.
- Lastly dd a sprinkling of fresh herbs of your choice – Enjoy!