First things first – tip your carrot juice into a pan and bring to the boil. We need to boil this carrot juice until only 50g remains, which may take up to an hour but you should be left with almost a caramel-like orange, carrot-y smelling syrup. Be careful you don’t burn this. You can also use freshly juiced carrots if you have access to a juicer. Set this reduction on the side to cool.
Next, take your washed carrots and lie them in a large, high-sided baking tray. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
To make the salt crust, in a bowl you should weigh the dry ingredients – chickpea flour, salt and sugar – and give a little stir so they’re evenly distributed. Next, add the egg white and cold water and mix with your hands until you get a sandy textured dough. Spread this salt crust all over the carrots in the baking tray, getting in between them and ensuring no carrots are exposed to the oven’s heat.
Place the baking tray in the oven for 35 minutes and then take a skewer and pierce right through the crust and the central carrots – they should be soft and yielding, if they’re still raw in the middle, allow to cook for another ten minutes. Remove the whole tray from the oven and allow to cool on the side for an hour.
Once the salt-crust carrots have cooled slightly, using your hands start to break open the salt crust. We’re trying to extract whole carrots from the melee here. You may end up snapping a few in half – it happens.
Next, we’re going to discard the salt crust, so rinse the carrots under some cold water to remove any excess salt – if some of the carrot skin falls away here, that’s okay too. Drain your washed carrots and place into a container in the fridge.
Let’s also make our green sage oil. You could just infuse olive oil with some sage leaves, and maybe even a clove of garlic at this point for an easy-flavoured oil, but in the restaurant we make a vibrant green sage oil.
Here’s how – take a medium-sized heavy-based pot and put it on the heat. You’ll want this pan to heat up for at least ten minutes and be screaming hot (turn that kitchen fan on); meanwhile, in a blender, blend the oil, spinach and half the sage (25g) until the leaves have broken down into the oil and everything has been fully blended (about three minutes). Next is what seems the counter-intuitive step – pour this oil and leaf mixture, carefully and confidently, into your very hot pan. Be warned – this will generate a lot of steam, bubbling and noise.
You want to stir this hot oil mixture with a spatula until all bubbles have ceased – this means that the water has been driven out the oil and will allow us to preserve the colour and flavour of the oil for longer. When this happens, drop in the remaining sage leaves and pour the contents into a heatproof bowl set over a bigger pan filled with ice and water. Stir this every five or so minutes. Once the oil is cooled, strain through a double layer of muslin and keep cold in the fridge (ideally in a squeezy bottle).