SMOKED BEET & AVOCADO BAGEL
Okay, so this is a weird one, I know. But you’ll just have to trust me when I say that it’s really, really good and way more interesting than your average avocado toast. I started working on this recipe with the intention of creating a vegan version of the classic lox bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion and capers. But somehow I took a left turn and wound up with Japanese flavors and basically putting vegan sushi on a bagel. If I could explain my thought process I would, but I have no idea where this came from. Nevertheless, this recipe is a truly tasty breakfast. I prefer it on a toasted sesame bagel but it also works on a good piece of bread. It’s layered first with a smear of vegan cream cheese. I used the almond variety from Kite Hill. Then it gets a layer of avocado dusted with wakame powder that tastes and smells just like the ocean. Next come the alder wood smoked beets brushed with toasted sesame oil, which bring a rich, smoky, meaty flavor to the party. Finally, yuzu pickled radishes add a bright acidity and saltiness. I like to finish it with scallions and black sesame seeds. A peculiar recipe to be sure, but I encourage you to give it a chance. I've come to really enjoy it.
Smoked Beet & Avocado Bagel
-1 medium beet
-3 large radishes
-1 avocado, sliced thin
-2 scallions, green parts only, sliced
-1 tbsp yuzu juice or lemon juice
-½ cup filtered water
-1 tbsp sesame oil
-1 tsp wakame powder* (optional)
-2 tsp black sesame seeds
-2 tsp seat salt + pinch
-4 oz. vegan "cream cheese”
-2 sesame bagels, sliced and toasted or 4 pieces toast
1. Start by spiralizing the radishes or cutting into matchsticks if you don’t have a spiralizer. Place in a container and add the water, yuzu or lemon juice and 2 tsp of the salt. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350. Peel the beets and slice 1/16 of an inch rounds on a mandolin or carefully with a knife. Line your stovetop smoker with aluminum foil and lay the beets out, fitting them in one layer as best you can. Give them a generous sprinkle of sea salt. Smoke beets with alder wood for about 5 minutes. Remove aluminum foil along with the beets and fold together crimping the edges to make a pouch. Transfer the pouch to the oven and continue cooking them for about 15 minutes or until tender. Transfer beet slices to a container and chill in the fridge. This much can be made the day before.
3. Before assembling, brush on or toss the beets with the sesame oil. To assemble: first, give each piece of bagel or toast a smear of the "cream cheese.” Next, fan out the sliced avocado onto each piece. Sprinkle with the wakame powder if using. Layer the beets on next. Top with the radishes and then the scallion, black sesame seeds and pinch of sea salt.
*Wakame powder is simply a powdered version of dried wakame seaweed, commonly used in miso soup. It’s available online. I usually make my own by running a package of dried wakame, which is much easier to find, through a high-speed blender using a dry blade until a powder is achieved. It’s great to add to anything that could benefit from a sea-like, umami flavor. It’s an excellent addition to vegan sushi or added to soups or paella.