Chefs' Recipes

Adam Wolfers' carrot schnitzel

The much-loved crumbed vegetable dish from the chef's pop-up restaurant Ételek.

By Adam Wolfers
  • 1 hr preparation
  • 1 hr 35 mins cooking (plus fermenting, brining)
  • Serves 4
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"Wiener schnitzels were cooked by my Austrian grandmother and mother my entire childhood, once a week at home," says Adam Wolfers. "The next-generation twist comes from my love for vegetables. Since my time at Ételek, I've tried turning every vegetable I could think of into a schnitzel – parsnip, carrot and asparagus to name but a few. The best vegetables to use are root vegetables because they have natural sweetness and hold their shape." Start this recipe 5-7 days ahead to make the zhoug.

Ingredients

  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, halved lengthways and sliced diagonally
  • 6 large carrots, halved lengthways
  • 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 150 gm panko crumbs
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 75 gm (½ cup) plain flour
  • 500 ml (2 cups) soy milk
  • Canola oil, for shallow-frying
  • Lemon cheeks and fennel flowers (optional), to serve
Zhoug
  • 100 gm long red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 2½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1¼ tbsp brown rice vinegar
  • 20 gm glucose
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 large (or 2 small) coriander roots, washed
  • ¼ tsp carob molasses (see note)
Sunflower hummus
  • 110 gm sunflower seeds, lightly roasted
  • ½ garlic clove, chopped
  • 1¼ tbsp chickpea miso (see note)
  • 2½ tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 100 ml vegetable oil

Method

  • 1
    For zhoug, blend chillies with 1 tsp salt in a small blender to a coarse paste. Transfer to a small sterilised jar (see note), cover and leave at room temperature until fermented (5-7 days). Seal and refrigerate until needed. Blend 1¼ tbsp fermented chilli (reserve remainder for another use) with oil, half the vinegar, glucose, garlic, coriander root, ¼ tsp salt and 50ml water in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan and gently simmer over very low heat until fragrant and the oil splits (20-25 minutes). Stir through molasses and remaining vinegar, then strain through a fine sieve.
  • 2
    Combine 2 tsp fine salt with 500ml water in a container and stir until dissolved. Add cucumber, cover and set aside until infused with the brine (2 hours).
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 180°C and line a large roasting pan with aluminium foil. Combine carrots, olive oil, garlic and thyme on prepared baking tray, season
    to taste, then fold over the foil to enclose, rolling edges to seal. Roast until carrots are tender when tested with a skewer (1-1¼ hours). Remove from foil and set aside to cool.
  • 4
    For sunflower hummus, blend sunflower seeds in a blender until fine but not too oily. Add garlic, chickpea miso, lemon juice, sherry vinegar, cumin, oil, 110ml water and ¼ tsp salt flakes. Blend on high speed, scraping down sides when needed, until smooth (2-3 minutes). Pass through a fine strainer if you prefer a very smooth finish.
  • 5
    Combine panko, paprika, yeast flakes and ½ tsp salt on a shallow tray. Place flour and milk in 2 separate trays. Coat carrots in flour, then milk, shaking off excess, then lightly press carrots into crumbs, ensuring they're completely coated. Set aside on a tray.
  • 6
    Add 1cm oil to a frying pan and heat to 180°C. Fry carrots, in batches, turning once, until golden brown (1-2 minutes each side; be careful, hot oil may spit). Drain on paper towel and season to taste with a pinch of salt.
  • 7
    Serve carrots with salted cucumber, sunflower hummus, lemon cheeks and fennel flowers, and drizzle with zhoug to taste.

Notes

Chickpea miso and carob molasses are available from health-food stores. To sterilise jars and lids, run through the hot-rinse cycle in a dishwasher, or wash in hot, soapy water, rinse well, then place on a tray in a cold oven and heat at 120°C for 30 minutes.