Lox and bagels are my family’s favorite breakfast for special occasions. We have lox and bagels for Sunday brunch, birthdays, and even Christmas breakfast. Since the popularity of the charcuterie board, I thought a lox board would the perfect way to showcase all the components of a lox brunch spread.
First of all, I won’t call it a lox and bagels “charcuterie board”, because it’s not. Charcuterie refers to cold, cured meat. Here’s more information on what is on a Charcuterie Board. (This post was originally published on December 26th, 2011).
How is lox different from smoked salmon?
“Lox” is the Yiddish word for salmon or “laks”. It traditionally comes from the belly of the salmon. While lox is salmon, it is not prepared the same way as smoked salmon.
- Smoked salmon is cured, then smoked, whereas lox is brined in salt to cure and preserve it.
- Cold-smoked salmon will have a texture similar to lox, but isn’t as salty.
- Gravlax is Scandinavian cured salmon and is popular on traditional open-faced sandwiches. Gravlax is typically cured with citrus, spices, sugar, lots of fresh dill, and salt. All three types of salmon will work on a lox and bagel board, but each will have a somewhat different flavor profile.
- Because lox is cured in salt, it tastes saltier, smoked salmon will have a light smokey taste, and gravlax will be slightly sweeter.
- Nova lox is from Nova Scotia and is flavor combination of both lox and smoked salmon. Read about the differences between cured salmon here.
Lox is a little harder to find in the grocery store. To be honest, when we have lox and bagels, I usually just buy a pound or two of cold smoked salmon at Costco or Trader Joe’s.
What sorts of accompaniments go on a lox and bagel board?
I like to put a few non-traditional things items like sliced cucumbers, olive tapenade, and avocado in addition to the classic accompaniments. If some guests don’t like smoked fish, or if you have vegetarians, they can make a hearty bagel sandwich with all the extras.
- Bagels of course! Have an assortment so that guests can choose their favorite type of bagel. I pick up a variety from the bagel shop. Poppy seed, pumpernickle, sesame seed, and garlic were used for this board. Split them in half and toast some of them ahead of time.
- Cream cheese. I like to serve a variety of spreads, from plain cream cheese to chive or scallion cream cheese spread, and vegetable cream cheese.
- Sliced tomatoes; beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes make a beautiful presentation.
- Red or purple onions. Sliced them thin. I like to use a mandoline.
- Briny capers; these are a must and I always have them on hand. They’re delicious in Nicoise Salad and on Dover Sole.
- Avocado. Nothing like creamy avocado on a lox and bagel sandwich!
- Olive tapenade.
- Fresh cucumber. While cucumbers aren’t necessarily traditional, we like the contrast of thinly sliced crisp cucumbers with smoked salmon.
- Fresh dill.
My daughters spend a lot of time constructing their “perfect” lox sandwiches!
How much lox per person?
This depends on whether the lox and bagel board will be the main focus of your brunch or just a component. A good rule of thumb is about 4 ounces of lox, and 1 1/2 bagels per person when served with other items. This Blintz Souffle Breakfast Casserole is a nice sweet option, and one of our brunch favorites. A bowl of fresh fruit rounds out this breakfast board. If you want to stretch your lox board, this Smoked Salmon Cheesecake will serve 16!
How to assemble a salmon board
I love this large wood board which doubles for charcuterie, appetizers, and desserts.
- Start with the salmon and place it down the center of the board. Use edible leaves, like fig or grape, to keep the salmon from getting on the board. But you could also use pieces of parchment paper.
- Put the plain and flavored cream cheeses in small bowls and place them next to the salmon. I also use whipped goat cheese as my daughter is sensitive to cow dairy.
- Add the tomatoes and slices of red onions.
- Fill in with the extras like tapenade, sliced cucumbers and capers. This little caper spoon is nice.
- Tuck fresh dill and lemon wedges into the empty spaces for color and garnish.
What to do with leftover lox or salmon?
If you have leftover salmon, try this Pasta with Smoked Salmon.
Lox and Bagels Board
- 1 1/2 pounds smoked salmon
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 large tomatoes sliced
- 1 red onion sliced
- 1/4 cup capers drained
- 1 avocado sliced
- 1 lemon quartered
- 6 bagels assorted
- Nutritional value is based on one bagel per person, 4 ounces of smoked salmon and 5 ounces of cream cheese per person, plus extras. Actual values will differ.
- Flavored cream cheeses are not included in calculations.