There’s something to be said for the classics. Those foods that bring comfort by virtue of their reliability and the tradition of eating them. Bagels and lox, one of my first introductions to quintessential Jewish foods, definitely fall into that category. We’re used to ordering our traditional bagels and lox from a deli, either open-faced or prepared as a sandwich with cream cheese, red onion and capers. That’s the way it’s been done for years, and, as many would tell you, why mess with a good thing?
But a few months ago, I was at a Restaurant Week dinner at one of those hip places that is known for taking those classic old-fashioned dishes that make up our culinary memories, deconstructing them and turning them completely upside down and inside out. On the menu was an appetizer that did just that: a deconstructed take on bagel and lox. It consisted of an artfully plated arrangement of fluffy cream cheese, salty salmon and all the usual accompaniments, served alongside a bowl of crispy chunks of bagel.
It was—not surprisingly—delicious, a new take that I simply couldn’t shake from my mind. It got me thinking: if this dish was served with the intention of being consumed with the bagel pieces dipped through the interpretive rendering of cream cheese, onion and capers, why not skip the artful plating and dive right into it—literally?
With that in mind, I took to the kitchen to recreate bagels and lox—in a dip. Let’s be honest: who doesn’t love a dip? Especially when that dip takes tried-and-true flavors and combines them all in a snackable format.
So I got all the favorite bagel-and-lox platter ingredients, whipped them together into an everything-bagel-and-lox-flavored cream cheese dip and served it alongside homemade bagel chips. The end result is super simple to prepare and quick to assemble and tastes just as good, or—dare I say it—maybe even better.
I think this is a game changer for Yom Kippur, but it’s likely to show up on my brunch or cocktail party menu, and I can’t promise that I won’t throw it together for a quick lunch on days when a sandwich just won’t do. Cool, creamy, salty, briny… “Unlox” your bagel.