A bagel with lox is by no means scant on toppings. Layered on top of a generous stack of salmon, any number of garnishes can decorate the cream cheese-clad bagel. From briny capers to pickled onions and even sliced cucumbers, it's fair to say that a lox bagel is loaded with good things. However, should you want to amp up complexity without tacking on more toppings, there's a clever way to do so — revamp the schmear with a little crème fraîche.
A typical lox bagel usually boasts a thick layer of cream cheese. While its relatively mild and sweet flavor makes it mellow enough to complement other ingredients, it can be a bit boring. This is where crème fraîche comes in. Offering an equally decadent and creamy base for lox and all of its accompaniments, crème fraîche also provides some depth when mixed with cream cheese. With a sour tang and notes of nuttiness, it can intensify the flavors of cream cheese and impart a vibrant degree of acidity.
Additionally, crème fraîche also works wonders for texture. Since cream cheese and crème fraîche are different types of dairy products made in entirely different ways, it's only natural that their consistencies would differ. Cream cheese is thick and dense and crème fraîche is thinner and silkier. Combining the two together creates a wonderfully velvety spread that's more luscious and flavorful than any other bagel schmear.
The Dos And Don'ts Of Mixing Cream Cheese And Crème Fraîche
Given that crème fraîche is so much thinner, adding an equal ratio of cream cheese would render the spread too runny. Instead, it's best to work with one part crème fraîche and two parts cream cheese. That said, in a pinch, sour cream can also be used following this ratio, so long as you bear in mind that it will make the mixture more acidic.
When it comes to how to incorporate the ingredients, it's as simple as adding them to a food processor and blitzing them until well-combined and fluffy. Otherwise, a hand mixer can also get the job done effectively. Just remember to use softened cream cheese, and to slowly increase the speed to avoid making any mess. For an especially light and airy schmear you could whip the cream cheese beforehand.
Want to take things up a notch? Gently fold in fresh dill, lemon zest, everything seasoning, or a splash of caper brine to the crème fraîche and cream cheese mixture. Once combined, spread it onto a bagel half, topping with lox and the other tasty additions, before giving it a well-deserved taste test.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.