For a few months last summer, I had physical therapy every week to get my new hips working. My husband Ted would drive me to the health center for my early morning appointments, and afterwards we'd treat ourselves to breakfast at the café downstairs. One time I ordered a bagel with smoked salmon, a mild herb cream cheese, and slithery wasabi honey vinaigrette that cascaded over the edge and all over the plate. The presentation wasn't great, but the combination of wasabi and salmon stuck with me, and I knew I had to recreate the flavors in a more organized way.
Mission accomplished. This smoked salmon bagel is good enough to build an entire brunch party around it; you and your guests will be licking your plates to get every last drop of the cream cheese. Wasabi powder might not be an everyday spice in your pantry, but it's worth keeping on hand, as little pinches here and there can kick up all sorts of dishes.
Smoked salmon bagel with wasabi herb cream cheese
From the pantry, you'll need: mayonnaise, dill weed, parsley, lemon, agave, kosher salt, fresh black pepper.
Inspired by Au Bon Pain café. Serves 2; can be multiplied.
For the cream cheese:
1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
1/2 tsp mayonnaise
1 tsp fresh dill weed, plus a few fronds for garnish
1 tsp fresh parsley
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp wasabi powder, or more to taste (I like at least 1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Pinch of fresh black pepper
For the bagel sandwich:
2 plain, wheat or multigrain bagels, sliced and toasted
2-3 slices of smoked salmon per bagel
1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
In a blender, combine all ingredients for the cream cheese. (You can do this a few hours ahead of time, and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.)
Set out the toasted bagels. Smear all of the insides with the cream cheese mixture.
Top with smoked salmon, then a few slices of cucumber.
Garnish, if desired, with some additional fresh dill fronds.
More brunch treats:
Bacon and egg tartine, from The Perfect Pantry
Breakfast quesadillas with smashed avocado, eggs and spinach, from The Perfect Pantry
Bagel quiche, from Recipe Girl
Smoked salmon brunch taco bar, from Noble Pig