17 January 2019

A bagel in Paris


 Years ago living in Spain I taught myself how to make bagels. Quite simply, I craved them - and couldn't find any to my liking. I'd been making my own breads for awhile and found the entire process - measuring, mixing, kneading, letting the dough rise, baking (or, in the case of flatbreads, rolling out and pan grilling) - a relaxing way to spend a weekend afternoon.

For bagels I'd get up early, and as the morning edged towards brunch time there would be drop-ins, music, a glass of something and, in cold weather, a blazing fire, and in no time at all the bagels were ready. They were water bagels - boiled before baking - and when finished we'd split them open and toast them, open-faced, then pile alongside a huge platter of smoked salmon, smoked whitefish, flavored cream cheeses (home made), thinly-sliced tomatoes, red onions, some capers, olive oil, lemons, salt and pepper. Champagne with a splash of Cointreau, an extra "French touch" (thank you Ralph), was the standard accompaniment. And to finish, Moroccan spiced coffee in demi-tasse cups. Making bagels from scratch meant I could control every aspect: size (I prefer smaller), types of flour, ingredients, and toppings - which changed with every batch depending on what I had on hand.

So where is my favorite bagel in Paris? As of this posting, and as far as I'm concerned, chez moi. - BPJ

Above: whole-wheat bagel tartines topped with chicken salad made with a light dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, chopped mint, salt, pepper

Topping: black sesame seeds, fennel seeds, coarse salt, sumac, za'atar (Middle Eastern mixture of thyme, oregano, sesame seeds and salt. Make your own or buy at Lebanese market stalls)


[These photos were sent to dear friends who forwarded them to a cousin whose brother was the late Barry Greenblatt of Barry Bagels in Ohio. I am told they "made his mouth water" - and that's good enough for me....]

Recipes in February newsletter

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