No Bagels? No Problem!

My one and only college roommate introduced me to real bagels and cream cheese and I will never forget her for that. Being from Texas, bagels are not the culinary staple they are in New York and Florida, since so many New Yorkers migrate to Florida in season.

Though the bagels my roommate, Erin, schlepped back with her were from Miami, they were the "real deal" from her neighborhood Jewish deli. She also transported copious amounts of (often-times-just-seemingly-still-the-slightest-bit-warm) corned beef and rye bread, but that is another story all together.

Perhaps having Erin as a roommate prepared me for the definite eating habits of my husband. Since he is a born and raised New York City boy and then lived many years in Florida, David knows good food and has always loved to eat and eat well.

Lucky for me, David strolled into my life a few years after college, at which time I already stood strong in my belief in the cultural truth that "New York bagels are the only real bagels." David has never met a bagel he liked that was made in San Antonio. Or Santa Fe. Or Houston or Austin. And definitely not from the freezer section of the grocery store--or even a gourmet grocery store. Only bagels from New York cut the mustard for him. In our years together, we have consumed dozens of bagels. Real bagels from New York.

Fast forward 20 years to present time and neither David nor I can handle eating real bagels, which is catastrophic because our holiday breakfast/brunch tradition centers around smoked salmon and a bagel with all of the fixins'. Red onion, capers, cream cheese and our favorite smoked salmon served with a sparkling mimosa to get us in the festive spirit.

Since I refuse to give up on our edible traditions, I found this "Everything" Potato Galette that is the answer to our problem. No bagels? No problem.

As in life, it is about compromises and contradictions and in finding an alternative to our favorite holiday treat of bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon. This pancake of shredded potatoes cooked in ghee made sure our tradition continued. The best part is that is even better for us.

The addition of poppy and sesame seeds is a creative way to make you think it's a bagel and trading in cream cheese for creme fraiche with capers and chives takes this holiday breakfast to new levels of excellence. Light and tasty, we are now already looking forward to this new, healthier holiday tradition next year.

But, honestly, if I have my way, we'll be having this again long before next Christmas or New Year's Day.

Buen provecho!
Everything Potato Galette with Smoked Salmon and Creme Fraiche
The Cowgirl Gourmet adapted this recipe from Saveur

Print recipe

As a former lover of smoked salmon with bagels and cream cheese, this potato galette totally fits the bill and will impress guests with its punch of creativity and flavor. Though you might not even miss the bagel, you will fall in love with this contemporary and grain and gluten-free version of an old favorite.

Serves 4-6

2 large russet potatoes, organic, washed and grated
5-6 tablespoons ghee, divided in half
1 teaspoon poppy seeds, plus more to garnish
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, plus more to garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (I used 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in the potatoes and a few pinches of Maldon salt when serving)
8 ounces smoked salmon
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup creme fraiche
2 tablespoons minced chives
2 tablespoons capers, drained

Grate potatoes using the large holes on the cheese grater. Using your hands, take handfuls of the grated potatoes and, over the sink or a bowl to catch the water, squeeze all of the water out of the potatoes. Place in a big bowl. Continue until finished.
Heat a non-stick 10-inch skillet of high heat and add half the ghee (2 1/2 -3 tablespoons). Once the butter is hot, add in the grated potatoes and then use a spatula to gently press the potatoes to fit in the skillet. Turn heat down just a bit and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the edges are golden and crisp, about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, add the creme fraiche, chives and capers and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper, mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.

When the bottom of the galette is cooked, carefully run a spatula around the edges to make sure it is not stuck in any one place. Place a large plate, turned upside-down, over skillet and carefully invert skillet with the plate and the potato cake will fall onto the plate. Place the skillet back on the heat and add the remaining ghee to the pan, allowing it to heat up.

Once the oil is hot, slide the galette into the pan and allow to cook another 10 minutes, or until the bottom is golden and crisp. Transfer to a cutting board or the plate you used to flip, and season with salt and pepper.
You can now dress the whole galette with smoked salmon and red onion or cut into individual servings and allow everyone to build their own. Offer additional poppy and sesame seeds for garnish as well.

Place a generous dollop or two of the creme fraiche before eating. Take any remaining creme fraiche to the table because this is the best part. Really.

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