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Inspired by an iconic New York dish (bagel and lox), my smoked salmon bagel recipe is a mouthwatering combination of smoked salmon, briny capers, and cream cheese mixed with herbs, stacked in a soft bagel, ready to be gorged on not just at breakfast, but at any time of the day.
Smoked Salmon Bagel with Capers and Herb Cream Cheese (Bagel and Lox)
Savor that rich smokiness, herby creaminess, and chewy softness for breakfast, brunch, or whenever you’re feeling hungry. This is New York and American cuisine at its most indulgent!
Bagel and Cream Cheese in American Cuisine
A halved bagel with a generous cream cheese spread has been a staple of American cuisine since the early 1900s, especially in New York cuisine.
It was in the Jewish community in New York and Philadelphia during the 1940s and 1950s that the concept of bagel and lox really took off. This simple yet wholesome combination, known as ‘lox and a schmear,’ consisted of a halved bagel, coated in cheese cheese, and topped with lox or smoked salmon.
The dish gained further popularity when Kraft Foods, which owns the Philadelphia brand of cream cheese, heavily marketed the concept as a way to increase sales of their cream cheese.
Today, bagel and lox are how so many New Yorkers and Americans start their busy days. There are countless New York delicatessens that serve this dish, with some iconic ones only serving bagel and lox and nothing else.
Lox vs. Smoked Salmon vs. Gravlax
While traditionally, lox was used for the bagel and lox recipe, today, many delis serve their bagels with smoked salmon instead. This recipe works with lox, smoked salmon, gravlax, and Nova lox/Nova smoked salmon. If you want to know more about lox versus smoked salmon, gravlax, and Nova lox, this guide from Epicurious will be helpful.
Basic NYC-Style – This consists of smoked salmon/lox, plain cream cheese, and a couple of thin slices of tomatoes on the bagel.
Additional Ingredients – Capers, chopped red onion, and diced hard-boiled egg are some of the other ingredients you can find.
To make my smoked salmon with capers and herb cream cheese bagel recipe, you’ll first need the following ingredients:
- Bagels – 2 bagels
- Lox or Smoked Salmon – 4 oz lox or smoked salmon
- Cream Cheese – 4 oz full-fat cream cheese
- Capers – 1 tbsp capers
- Dill – a handful (about 1 tbsp when finely chopped)
- Spring Onion – 1 spring onion
- Lemon Juice – 1 tsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- Lemon Zest – 1 tsp lemon zest
- Flaky Sea Salt – 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
- Black Pepper – 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Butter – 1 tbsp unsalted butter (optional, if toasting the bagels in the pan)
Step 1 – Finely chop the dill and spring onion, and roughly chop the capers.
Step 2 – To a bowl, add the cream cheese, dill, spring onion, capers, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper, and mix it all together with a spatula until well-combined.
Step 3 – Cut the bagels in half and toast them either in the toaster or in a pan with some butter over medium heat.
Step 4 – Spread the herb cream cheese on the bagels and add the lox or smoked salmon.
Step 5 – Serve them either closed and cut in half or open (garnishing them with some dill and capers).
Typically, bagel and lox are served closed and cut in half, as shown below.
You could serve them open, in which case, you could decorate them with some dill, capers, and perhaps some thinly sliced red onions or tomatoes.
However you enjoy them, one thing is for sure: there’s a reason so many Americans start their day with bagel and lox, because it is just so utterly delicious!
- 2 bagels
- 4 oz lox or smoked salmon
- 4 oz full-fat cream cheese
- 1 tbsp capers
- a handful dill (about 1 tbsp when finely chopped)
- 1 spring onion (scallion or green onion)
- 1 tsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter (optional, if toasting the bagels in the pan and not in the toaster/toaster oven)
- Finely chop the dill and spring onion, and roughly chop the capers.
- To a bowl, add the cream cheese, dill, spring onion, capers, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper, and mix it all together with a spatula until well-combined.
- Cut the bagels in half and toast them either in the toaster or in a pan with some butter over medium heat.
- Spread the herb cream cheese on the bagels and add the lox or smoked salmon.
- Serve them either closed and cut in half or open (garnishing them with some dill and capers).
You can use lox, smoked salmon, gravlax, or Nova lox/Nova smoked salmon.
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Save and Pin for Later
Looking for an American breakfast that is as satisfying as flavorful? Keep my smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel recipe for safekeeping, by saving this recipe to one of your boards.