Cooking Cove: Thinking outside the bagel and lox box

Cooking Cove: Thinking outside the bagel and lox box

Photo from Pexels

By Barbara Beltrami

O.K. We New Yorkers know the value of a perfect bagel with lox and cream cheese. It’s definitely the Sunday morning default breakfast for many of us, but beyond the bagel, smoked salmon is definitely a go-to feature for an elegant brunch, lunch or cocktail party. As we’re thinking outside the box, let’s contemplate a delicate pasta doused with a cream sauce infused with smoked salmon Let’s serve up a savory pumpernickel bread pudding laced with it or easy-as-can-be smoked salmon and goat cheese rollups.

Angel Hair Pasta with Creamy Smoked Salmon Sauce

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large shallot peeled and chopped

4 ounces smoked salmon torn into bite    size pieces

1 cup heavy cream

Scant 1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

1 pound angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions (reserve 1/4 cup of cooking liquid)

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill


In a large skillet heat the oil over medium high heat; add shallot and cook until transparent but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add salmon pieces and stirring with a wooden spoon, cook until it turns a light pink, about one more minute. Add cream and capers, then sparingly the salt and pepper as the salmon and capers lend their own saltiness. In a large bowl combine the sauce and pasta and toss to thoroughly coat. If the sauce seems a little sparse, add the reserved cooking water, a few tablespoons at a time. Toss again and sprinkle with dill. Serve with a delicate salad.

Savory Smoked Salmon and Pumpernickel Bread Pudding

YIELD: Serves 6


1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 loaf pumpernickel bread, thickly sliced, cut into cubes and toasted 

3/4 pound smoked salmon, thinly sliced and torn into bite-size pieces 

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained

2 cups milk

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 Generous handful fresh dill, chopped

1 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese 


Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with butter. In a large bowl combine the bread, smoked salmon, onion and capers. In another medium-large bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, mustard, and salt and pepper; then stir in the dill and cheese. Pour mixture over bread mixture and toss to thoroughly coat; let sit 10 minutes so bread absorbs liquid. Pour entire mixture into prepared baking dish and bake until puffy and golden, about 45 minutes. Serve hot or warm with fresh fruit or spinach salad.

Smoked Salmon Rollups

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


4 ounces chive cream cheese at room temp

4 ounces goat cheese, softened

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 to 2 tablespoons cream

2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons grated English cucumber 

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 

8 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon 

Fresh dill for garnish


In a small bowl, thoroughly combine cream cheese, goat cheese, lemon juice, cream, chives, dill, cucumber, and salt and pepper. On a sheet of waxed paper arrange the smoked salmon into a 3” x 12” rectangle. With your fingers press slices or pieces together to fill in gaps; gently spread cheese mixture over salmon, then starting at long end, roll up as tightly as possible. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Unwrap and slice into 1/2” discs. Garnish with fresh dill. Serve with cocktails.