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Recipe Collection

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Whitefish Salad on Toasted Bagel with Havarti Cheese

Whitefish Salad on Toasted Bagel with Havarti Cheese Related:   appetizers, bread & savory pastries, breakfast & brunch, dairy, fish, Shavuot, Yom Kippur

Prep time: 10-15 mins + 1 hour refrigeration

Cook time: 3-5 mins

Yield: 6 open-face sandwiches

I was introduced to smoked whitefish salad by Ellen’s father, Ed, at the local deli. Any salad slathered on a bagel and toasted with melted cheese all over it is a winner in Ed’s book and who could argue? The whitefish salad you buy in a store is usually over mixed and too mayonnaise-y—and you don’t really know exactly what’s in it, so this is one of those instances where making it yourself makes a huge difference. I can guarantee that there isn’t any fennel in the store-bought stuff and probably no lemon zest either. By the way, you can use any smoked fish you’d like, such as trout, carp, cod, pike, whiting, sturgeon or halibut. The complex flavors disguise the fact that this is an easy dish to throw together and serve at a brunch or Yom Kippur break-fast.


  • ½ pound smoked whitefish
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, freshly grated
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup celery, finely minced
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely minced
  • ¼ cup fennel bulb, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise, including some of the green
  • 3 bagels (sesame seed or your choice)
  • 6 slices Havarti cheese
  • Red onion slices
  • Tomato slices


  • Flake the whitefish into a medium bowl (use your fingers). Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon zest, salt and pepper; blend with a fork. Stir in the celery, onions, fennel and dill. Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper if you wish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the bagels in half and toast them in a toaster. Arrange them on a baking sheet, cut side up. Top each with one slice of cheese. Place in the oven to melt the cheese, about 3 minutes. Transfer the bagels to individual places or a serving platter and top each with a few onion slices and tomato slices and a generous dollop of whitefish salad. Serve immediately.
  • Reprinted with permission from The New Jewish Table by Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray, © 2013, St Martin’s Press. Photo credit: Renee Comet. 

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