While it is duly noted that "the bagel met and married lox in New York City," this marriage has, like all successful marriages, learned to punt, pivot, traverse, and adapt to modern life. Lox and cream cheese is traditionally a breakfast offering, however, like any stale marriage there comes a time when breathing new life into the relationship is necessary. This recipe preserves everything we know and love about our affair with the lox and cream cheese bagel pairing: the salty, briny, creamy, chewy tastes and textures remain familiar. However, a few exciting (and healthy--dare we say it?) updates make this modern take on a classic melting pot food (Scandinavian preserved fish, Italian capers, Jewish bagels, and English cream cheese) and elevates it into an all-American crowd pleasing grilled gourmet pizza with fried capers, preserved lemons, and a pre made wood-grilled flatbread crust! The result is a satisfying, simple, and beautiful to look at any time of day schmeared meal.

cuisine American
difficulty Simple
season Year Round
serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

1 fire-grilled pizza crust 4 ounces cream cheese 2 tablespoons dill, minced 4 ounces Atlantic smoked salmon, thinly sliced pieces 1/3 cup red onion, chopped 1 tablespoon preserved lemon, chopped (optional) 4 or 5 lemon slices, cut into half moons 1/3 cup capers, drained Extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 cup baby arugula, packed sea salt flakes freshly ground black pepper 1 fennel bulb, finely sliced on a mandoline 1 cup water 1 cup apple cider vinegar 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions for the pizza

  1. Prepare the OFYR grill by starting the fire 45 minutes before you wish to cook on it. 
  2. In a small bowl mix the cream cheese and dill. Add a few grinds of fresh black pepper and stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. Add a 1/4" of olive oil to a small pot and heat on medium high. Add the capers and fry them until crispy and splitting, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer capers to a paper towel to drain. Reserve until ready to assemble the pizza.
  4. Smear the pre grilled pizza crust with the cream cheese mixture to within 1/4" of the crust edge.
  5. Lay the sliced smoked salmon over the cream cheese. Sprinkle the red onion, the preserved lemon, the fresh lemon slices, the drained capers, the arugula, and pickled fennel over the pizza. Finish with freshly ground pepper and sea salt flakes.
  6. Slice the pizza into wedges and put on the OFYR round plate. Grill until the bottom of the flatbread is crispy, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

Direction for the Quick Pickled Fennel

  1. Trim the top stalks from the fennel and peel away any hard, tough, blemished layers.
  2. Cut the bulb in half, top to bottom. Use a hand held mandoline (or a sharp knife) to shave or slice each half of the cut side of the fennel into thin pieces.
  3. Put the fennel into a mason jar.
  4. Add the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar to a small pot. Heat to a boil, stir and pour over the fennel in the jar--make sure the fennel is completely covered with liquid (if not, add water as needed to the jar).
  5. Let cool at room temperature, put the lid on the jar and refrigerate until needed (pickled fennel lasts a month in the refrigerator). 

Kitchen Notes

The pickled fennel lasts a month in the refrigerator. If using a conventional oven, pre heat the oven to 500 degrees F.. Brush the top of the pizza crust with olive oil and slide directly onto the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 2 minutes, or until crispy. Remove and proceed with recipe. Atlantic smoked salmon is generally more consistent in texture, fattier and more flavorful than wild caught lean salmon varieties.