After I made the lunch pictured here for the second time in four days, I thought I should come clean and admit it: this combination was pretty much my sole motivation for last week’s foray into bagel-making.
I came up with it sometime last year, when I was looking at packages of smoked salmon in the supermarket and fondly remembering a smoked-salmon-and-bagel spread unexpectedly encountered at a cousin’s bridal shower a few years earlier. (Yes, I’ve said it before and now you know it's true: basically, all I ever think about is food.) Pretty much everyone there gave the salmon a wide berth, preferring the usual offerings of baked ziti, cold cuts and such…except my mother, my sisters and me. We ate so much of it that I don’t think the caterers even noticed that it had not been a smashing success with the vast majority of the guests. (So you see we were really being charitable, as opposed to just piggy.)
Anyway, as well as wishing something like that would happen again so I wouldn't have to shell out for my own smoked salmon, I was thinking of the accompaniments that you usually find alongside a smoked salmon spread—cream cheese and bagels, of course, but also lemons, chopped red onions, tomatoes, capers—and realized that I already regularly made a salad that included many of those things. I thought it might make a good accompaniment to a smoked salmon/cream cheese bagel. Then I had to buy the smoked salmon so I could try it out.
I was not wrong. In fact, I love this lunch so much that I wish I could afford to eat it about every other day. Luckily, once you have invested in and opened a package of smoked salmon you can’t leave it sitting around for too long, which means you actually have an excuse to eat it about every other day, at least for a little while.
Smoked Salmon Spread Lunch
A few good shmears of cream cheese
1-2 slices smoked salmon
8-10 grape or cherry tomatoes
¼ of a red onion
2-3 basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Slice the bagel in half and toast. While the bagel is toasting, quarter the tomatoes in a salad bowl. Dice the onions and shred the basil leaves. Season with salt and black pepper, then drizzle the olive oil and vinegar evenly over everything. Toss briefly to combine.
When the bagel is toasted, spread liberally with cream cheese and top with smoked salmon. Sprinkle lemon juice over.