As a lifelong New Yorker, I know what the perfect bagel is. (It’s an everything bagel.) I know how it should be prepared. (Lightly toasted, but not hot; you don’t want the cream cheese to melt, that’s disgusting.) And I know what should go on it: (plain) cream cheese, thinly sliced lox, a slice of tomato if it’s in season, and capers. Always capers. (Red onion is acceptable if you’re into it, which I am not.) Oh, and a squirt of lemon on top. You will eat it open-faced, with the ingredients piled lightly on each half. I will brook no argument!
As perfect as this bagel formula is, there was one part that always annoyed me: My capers, my beloved salty bois (as Claire would call them), they would roll right off the lox and onto my plate. Sometimes right onto the floor, and does the five-second rule apply when it comes to capers? It does not.
Every lost caper makes me sad. In case you couldn’t tell, the capers are my favourite part of the bagel experience. I love those umami babies. (A term Claire does not use yet but will soon.)
But now I need never again mourn the loss of even a single caper, because I have hit upon the perfect solution: I simply press them directly into the cream cheese and then layer the lox over them. The capers stay put and, since you can’t see them, they’re a lovely surprise, bursting in your mouth with that perfect blend of tang and salt. (I’m very into capers.) Which got me to thinking, why aren’t we putting all the toppings underneath the lox? The tomato. The red onion. The… whatever else. Dill? Not my thing, but if you must. Cucumbers? Get out of here.
Anyway, the point is: Press your ingredients into the cream-cheese matrix, and layer the lox over the whole shebang. The lox is slippery. The lox wants to be the roof of your bagel. Give the lox what it wants.