You Don’t Have to be Jewish to Love Lox and Bagels!

Probably most of you have enjoyed bagels with cream cheese, but are you a fan of lox and bagels? (“Lox” is derived from the Yiddish word for salmon and refers to a fillet of brined salmon, usually thin-sliced.) Lox and bagels were served by delicatessens in New York City as a Sunday morning treat as far back as the 1950’s, although it’s only been since about the 90’s that I remember learning about “lox.” The traditional formula was to serve them with tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and sometimes capers. However, in the past 25 years, I’ve learned to love lox in concert with all types of breakfast treats…although atop a savory bagel is still a great favorite. And bagels? Well, I don’t remember them from childhood, although they’ve probably been around for ages. One of my first experiences of falling in love with bagels was at Schmagels Bagels in St. Augustine, Florida,  where they feature 13 varieties of New York-style bagels (all home made in St. Augustine—of course!) and eleven types of home-concocted cream cheese spreads. One of my favorite breakfasts of lox and bagels was served at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island with a dill cream cheese, giant capers, and a mango smoothie. However, I recently served lox and bagels for a Sunday  treat at home, and Alan (who is pretty discriminating) gave his stamp of approval, so I’ll pass along my recipe in the hopes you’ll like it too.

Lox and Bagels à la Avocado
(serves 2)

1. Split two “everything” bagels in half and toast them in the toaster. (An “everything” bagel has poppy and sesame seeds, onions, and probably some other things on top, but use your favorite savory bagel.)

2. Butter the bagel lightly, and then smear on as much cream cheese as you like.

3. Add lox (You can add some thin-sliced smoked salmon instead if you can’t find “lox;” they are similar but not identical. Lox are soaked in a salty/sweet brine and come from the rich, belly portion of a salmon, but I think any thin-sliced salmon is very good.)

Top with:
1 slice avocado
1 thin ring of onion
1 teaspoon capers

Obviously, as mentioned earlier, you can also serve it with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, or anything else for that matter! I used fresh cherries, but there are no end of delicious combinations. I do think the capers and onions add critical taste points, though, or the dish may seem too bland. THEREFORE, if you serve it for Sunday breakfast before church (as I did), be sure you all brush your teeth and use breathe mints or chewing gum before trying to engage your church friends, or they may wonder why you have such bad breath!  🙂  It did occur to me that I should have thought through when to serve it. Jewish people attend synagogue on Saturday, so on Sunday they aren’t engaging all their dear friends in conversations. In like spirit, maybe Gentiles should make this as a Saturday treat instead of a Sunday treat!

Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2).

(Photo Credits: I didn’t actually have any photos of the traditional way of serving bagels, so I looked online. Most of the photos are mine, but #3. is from Bottega Louie’s in L.A. #5 is a photo of Schmagel’s Bagel Shop in St. Augustine, and #6 is a photo from Schmagel’s. The rest are mine.)