One of my favorite things, maybe in the world, is smoked salmon on a bagel with lox. Tomatoes, red onions and capers are all beautiful accompaniments, but in my eyes, completely unnecessary when you’re dealing with bright, fresh lox and a liberal amount of full-fat cream cheese.
Maybe it’s my New York roots or my Jewish ancestry from my mother’s side of the family, but I could eat a bagel with lox and cream cheese every day if it didn’t add up to an obscene amount of calories before I’d even finished my morning coffee.
While this preference makes me a lot of fun at brunch, it’s not always what you want to serve at a cocktail party. I’ve never been to an affair where the passed hors d’oeuvres plate included an everything bagel with lox and schmear.
Luckily for me, smoked salmon is trendy in its own right, pairing perfectly with potatoes, caviar and creme de fraiche. You can also pull together a platter of smoked salmon on toast points to pass or set out next time you’re gathered around your kitchen sipping wine with friends at home or enjoying an outdoor space over cocktails.
Be sure to use a good-quality smoked salmon, which is arguably the star of the show here. You can get a head start by preparing the herbed cream cheese in advance (which is just as delicious on a bagel the next morning if you happen to have leftovers). You can either assemble the toast points and present them on a platter, or set out all the ingredients and let guests prepare their own.
For the herbed cream cheese:
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- Zest of ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
For the toast points:
- 6 slices white or wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed, each cut into 4 triangles
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 6 oz. smoked salmon, thinly sliced
- ½ cup capers, finely chopped
- ½ cup finely chopped red onion (optional)
- Chives for garnish
- To prepare the herbed cream cheese, in a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, chives and dill. Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat an oven to 350F.
- Brush the bread on both sides with the melted butter. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake until the toast points are golden and slightly crispy, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
- To assemble, spread the herbed cream cheese on the toast points and place ½ to 1 whole slice of salmon on top. Garnish with the onion, capers and dill sprigs. Arrange on a platter.
- Alternatively, arrange the toast points and smoked salmon on platters. Place the herbed cream cheese, onion, capers, hard-cooked eggs and dill sprigs in separate serving bowls and let guests assemble their own hors d’oeuvres.