Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bagels and Lox Platter

I can’t believe I’ve never heard of a bagel and lox platter before. In my family is most certainly was not on my list of family comfort food. For some people bagels and lox is a must have for Jewish holidays. We will frequently have bagels and cream cheese, or bagels and a schmear (Yiddish for a spread of cream cheese, usually on a bagel). One day while having breakfast at a restaurant, the people at the next table were served a "Lox and Bagel Platter". I asked the waiter to bring me a menu. 
The menu called it a "Lox Platter". The menu description said that it was "Lox Platter... Fresh smoked salmon (Nova) with a toasted bagel and cream cheese, served with thinly sliced tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and capers". 
The next weekend my wife and I went out and had the "Lox Platter" at a different restaurant. The presentation was not as fancy, but the taste was amazing. I just had to have it again. 
For the 4th of July I decided I just had to get a Lox Platter. I called around and discovered that a "Lox Platter" to serve 8-10 people was about $110.00. For real? It was decided that we would make out own platter. How hard could it be?  
So I did a little research and put together my shopping list. 24 ounces of lox, tomatoes, English cucumbers, fresh dill, red onion, capers, cream cheese, chives, and bagels. So it was the 4th of July weekend. After shopping at the grocery store, my total cost for the "Lox Platter" ingredients was $27.00. How long would it take me to assemble this platter? I wondered.
My son's fiance was over for the day and I recruited her to assemble the platter while I took photographs. For each step I had to convince her to concentrate on presentation. Each thin slice of salmon had to be folded in half and laid out on the edge of the platter until the entire platter was covered. Remember, we eat with our eyes first. As you can see in the picture above, we had to fix the circle of lox to be more symmetrical.
We could have just cut the cucumber into slices, but running a vegetable peeler down the sides, alternating peeled and unpeeled slices make for a great presentation. Once the peeler is done, It's time to cut the cucumber into thin slices and arrange them around the lox.
Now doesn't that look nice? Now it's time for thinly sliced medium sized tomatoes that have been cut in half and placed around the platter overlapping the cucumbers Keep your circles tight, you're not finished yet.
You're going to need some diced red onions. Place a large pot of water on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Cut off each end of the onion and chop into small dice. Placed the diced onions into a fine strainer and set to the side until needed. You're going to need a large bowl filled with water and ice for rapidly cooling the onions (shocking), once they are blanched.
When the water is boiling, set the onions into the water for 2-3 minutes so the onions are tender. Remove the strainer and place it into the ice water. This will stop the cooking process and set the color. Once the onions are cold, pull the strainer from the water and allow to drain. Once drained put in a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Fill a small bowl with cream cheese and chives and place in the center of the platter. Garnish the platter with fresh dill and add a dollop of chilled red onions around the plate. Place an assortment of bagels that have been cut in half or quartered on a plate next to the lox platter.
To assemble, spread a schmear of cream cheese and chives on each side of the bagel. This is the glue to hold your other ingredients. Place a slice of lox on the bottom layer of cream cheese, followed by a slice of tomato, a couple of cucumber slices, a dollop of red onions and some capers on the top layer of cream cheese and chives. Press the two halves together and you've got a lox appetizer. Enjoy!

© TMelle 2015