Bagels were on sale yesterday. Buy 6, get 6 free.
Not the plastic-bag, 6-to-a-pack, spongy bread isle bagels, Deli bagels. Crunchy outside, chewy inside, each one uniquely different, packed with flavor and so much fun to buy! Grocery store Deli bakery cases with complex clear plastic grid-system displays, showcase more than a dozen bagel choices. Traditional go-to favorites always well picked-over include; plain, egg, onion, poppy-seed, salt, sesame, garlic and "everything". However, the proverbial early morning fly-on-the-wall might hear a sleepy baker sigh with boredom. "Let us not limit ourselves", the baker might mumble. "Let's try something else to tempt the shoppers."
(We do that, you know, we bakers. Getting wild in the Bakeshop is a little known secret, but it happens all over the world.)
Bakers at The Bagel Store in Brooklyn, NY get crazy daily, offering avant-garde temptations like salt and vinegar, jalapeno, French toast, and -shudder- Twinkie. We live more than 4 hours north of Brooklyn, so if I get a hankering for a Twinkie bagel, I can always order online. http://thebagelstoreonline.com/ . We're lucky enough, however, to have an authentic bagel factory operating locally right here in the Utica, NY area. The Bagel Grove makes 14 different bagels available every day including bialy, spicy everything, and Saratoga Sunshine (a combination of onion and poppy seed), and they ship too! http://bagelgrove.com
When bagels are on sale, I buy more than I normally would, and wrap them to freeze. Bread in general is a willing partner in the freeze-your-surplus-food scheme. Of course, everything suffers if left too long in sub-zero climates, but frozen bagels aren't one of them- they're too popular!
Bagels aren't just good for breakfast; they can be sliced and baked into chips for snacks and dipping, cubed for croutons, toasted for sandwiches, or made into mini pizzas. I'm a traditionalist, though. I love bagels with fish. Lox and cream cheese to be specific, but any fish will do.
Today's delicious fry recipe doubles-down on the yum factor by including potatoes in the mix. Eight ingredients make it even better, faster and simpler. I like to mix everything together ahead of time and chill for at least an hour. That way, scooping and patty forming is easier and cleaner. Use your freezer and make an extra batch to keep pattied-up and bagged for a quick weeknight meal!
I'm not sure where this recipe came from. I wrote it down on a card sometime in the early 90s, I think. It has a "down east" feel to it, so the original idea probably hails from the Carolinas somewhere.
Fish cakes are terrific any time of year, but in the approaching dog-days of summer, they're even better. Celebrate National Bagelfest Day, as begun by legendary Bagelmonger Harry Lender (today), make a flavorful salad, toast your bagel-of-choice with an accompanying slab of you cheese-of-choice, toss together a last-minute salsa to top the fish, and a 5-star bistro meal is yours for the taking.
Oh, and don't forget the chilled Pinot Grigio!
The Rediscovered Recipe Box # 41- Fish Cakes
1 lb. raw codfish, chopped roughly
3-4 potatoes, peeled and mashed
2 Tbsp each onion, parsley, basil, minced
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Mash together, form into patties, coat with flour, fry in oil.
Can't get easier than that!