In terms of indulgent bagel toppings nothing tops lox, but it can be kind of pricey and it's not exactly for everyone. To make a non-fishy, but still smokey-sweet lox-like topping, you're going to want to roast some carrots. Photo by Sarah Jampel.
Carrot "lox" was first spotted by Food 52's kitchen manager, Kaitlin Bray, at Brooklyn's Stonefruit Espresso. According to Bray, the carrots are startlingly similar to the real thing:
The carrots still have a slight crunch, but they truly evoke smoked fish and not in a creepy faux-meat kind of way. Paired with herbed horseradish sour cream, capers, dill, radish, and raw onions it tastes like the real deal (and maybe even better).
Food 52 then set out to create their own recipe, testing various cooking methods and ingredients until they had a carrot "lox" that they were thrilled with. To lox-ify your carrots, thinly slice them lengthwise and give them a little massage with salt, pepper, liquid smoke and sugar until they get nice and soft. Coat the slices with egg and lemon zest, cover them up and bake at 175C until soft. The egg may sound a little weird, but it creates a nice, soft and sweet layer on the outside of the carrots. If you want the dish to be vegan friendly (or just don't like eggs) you can sub in some chickpea water.
Once your not-lox "lox" is done, drape it over your favourite bagel with a good cream cheese and some capers. I know the orange carrots will look the loxiest, but there is something very appealing about giving this a go with purple or rainbow carrots. Rainbow carrots make everything just a little more fun.