If you're looking for a super star brunch board, let me introduce you to this gorgeous Bagel and Lox Charcuterie Board. Your guests will build their own dream bagel using a combination of their favorite toppings, sauces and proteins. It's the perfect breakfast or bagel bar brunch for special occasions.
Nothing signals the start of a relaxing weekend like a toasted bagel topped with scallion cream cheese, smoked salmon and a flurry of fresh veggies and fresh herbs. This epic bagel board with smoked salmon and all the good stuff for toppings is the perfect way to host Mother's Day brunch, bridal showers, baby showers, a delicious breakfast for the holidays or a truly glorious Sunday brunch.
The beauty of breakfast boards is how perfectly customizable they are to assemble. And how seamlessly you can integrate homemade items with store bought sauces and toppings. And by creating multiple delicious combinations, you give all of your guests the chance to build their dream bagel.
So let's gather all your favorite toppings and bagels...and all your favorite people...and get this bagel brunch board party started.
Let's talk about lox!
The terms "lox" and "smoked salmon" are often used interchangeably, but they do have key differences. Then you add in nova salmon, and you have a confusing trifecta of salmon available at most seafood markets and grocery stores.
Our friends at Alaskan Salmon Company break it down this way:
Lox - lox is cured, not smoked, salmon. It's cured in salt, resulting in a pretty aggressively salty flavor. It was the original topping for bagels and cream cheese, but as smoking salmon gained popularity, the milder smoked salmon flavor put lox out of favor. Because of that, true lox is more difficult to find these days.
Smoked Salmon - cold smoked salmon is what most of us are referring to when we order our favorite bagel and lox sandwiches. But it is cold smoked, not cured in salt, resulting in a milder, less salty flavor.
Nova - nova salmon is a hybrid variety of lox and smoked salmon. It is cured in a lighter sprinkling of salt, and then cold smoked. It's flavor profile is a little stronger than smoked salmon, but not so aggressive as the salt cured lox.
Let's talk about bagels!
The sky's the limit on your bagel options. I have two types that I consider must-haves: plain bagels and gluten free bagels. But you can add a great bit of variety, depending on your guests' preferences, including:
- onion bagels
- everything bagels
- sesame seed bagels
- Montreal-style bagels
- brioche bagels
- mini bagels (love this idea for giving yourself more options for toppings!)
- sweet bagels like blueberry, cinnamon or raisin
- make your own bagels at home!
Looking for more themed snack boards? Try these festive boards for future special occasions:
Delicious Sides and Sauces for Your Bagel & Lox Breakfast Board:
You have a world of different flavors to add to your board in the form of sauces and toppings. I kept my lox bagel board to savory toppings, but you can take your family brunch toppings into sweet or savory categories. For your consideration (in addition to lox and bagels):
- Smoked whitefish or whitefish salad
- Red onion slices or pickled red onion
- Cucumber slices or ribbons
- Lemon slices or wedges
- Sliced avocado
- Cherry tomatoes or sliced tomatoes
- Soft boiled quail eggs or regular eggs
- Plain cream cheese
- Scallion cream cheese
- Sour cream dill sauce
- Everything bagel seasoning
- Fresh dill
- Fresh chives
- Applesauce or apple slices
- Peanut butter
- Sweet cream cheese
How to Build Your Own Lox & Bagel Board
Here we go! Let's take it step by step.
Make a plan!
Here are my top considerations when I'm building a lox and bagel board menu:
What are their culinary preferences and what level of adventure do they bring to their food choices? Since bagel boards present each guest with a choose-your-own-adventure dining experience, we want to create a selection of topping options that gives everyone some joy. This is also where you factor in food sensitivities and allergies, and make accommodations for vegetarians and vegans. Having a variety of veggies and vegetarian friendly items like hummus and avocado is always a great choice when serving a crowd!
What is sweet and perfectly fresh at the market? What kind of seasonal fruits or jams or spreads could you add as a sweet surprise on the board? Find a way to incorporate the season onto your brunch board.
Is this bagel charcuterie spread the main event or the warm-up act? Are you serving it with Smoked Salmon Quiche or Spinach and Feta Croissants, or do you want your guests to fill up on the bagels and toppings? This question will drive the size and complexity of your board.
Once you've set your menu, make a plan for how you'll present the lox and bagel charcuterie board. Choose your serving board or tray, your small bowl(s) for dipping sauces and toppings, and plan how you'll arrange your items on the board.
Make a Scene!
When the morning of the party arrives, it's time to build the board. Because bagels taste best when fresh, have all of your supporting menu items standing by in their bowls with serving spoons, ready to hit the board as soon as you are ready to serve.
Position your bagels on one side of the board. I usually arrange them to be cascading off the board onto parchment paper, giving me more than enough room for toppings! If you're serving multiple varieties of bagels, arrange them on different corners of the board.
Next, add the major supporting components like smoked salmon and whitefish, hard boiled eggs and your cream cheese(s).
Then, add your fresh veggie sides. Sliced or mashed avocado (sprinkled with everything bagel seasoning for extra credit!), capers, thin sliced or diced red onion, sliced cherry tomatoes, fresh radishes, cucumber ribbons - choose all your greatest hits.
Finally, add garnishes. Fresh dill, diced chives, flaky salt and fresh lemon wedges add the perfect touches of flavor and color. Edible flowers are a beautiful touch if you're in the mood for a real party!
FAQ's About Building Your Own Lox and Bagel Board
I prefer a wood board, or a tray covered in parchment. The size will depend on how many people you're feeding. If using a slate board, I recommend laying down a sheet of parchment.
Toasted bagels lose their luster quickly. I ensure my bagels are pre-sliced, then keep the toaster ready near the bagel and lox board for anyone who prefers a toasted bagel.
To store leftover lox, wrap tightly in plastic or in an airtight container and return to the refrigerator. If your lox / smoked salmon has been held at room temperature for more than 2 hours, you'll need to toss it to avoid any food safety issues.Print