Recipes

Poor Man's Lox

Jeremy Fox

On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen

“This spread is inspired by a Sunday morning staple in my house growing up. In my Jewish household—and every other as far as I knew—lox and bagels were just what you ate on Sunday. But quite often we could not afford the steep price tag that real lox carried, so this assortment of toppings was the next best thing. The saltiness of the tomatoes made it pretty easy to close your eyes and imagine it was the real deal.” –Jeremy Fox in his 2018 Beard Award–nominated On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen

Ingredients

Jun’s Focaccia:

  • 1 1/4 cups water (heated to 110°F), plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed, and for greasing
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry (fast-action) yeast
  • Flaky sea salt, such as maldon 
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Horsey Goat:

  • 16 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons heavy (double) cream
  • 4 ounces prepared horseradish
  • Kosher salt

For the Sandwich:

  • 6 orange or red tomatoes, cored and very thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 or 3 shallots, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced
  • Fresh dill, to garnish
  • 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseeds
  • 1 teaspoon sunflower seeds
  • Flaky sea salt

Method

Make Jun’s Focaccia: In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the warm water, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the honey. Add the flour (this creates a barrier to keep the yeast from hitting the water right away). Then add the salt and yeast and knead the dough on medium speed for 10 to 15 minutes. You’re looking for dough with a nice sheen and tacky, but not sticky, consistency; it should pull away neatly from the bowl. During the kneading, if you find that the dough is overly dry, add a touch more water. If it is too wet, add a little bit more flour.

Turn out the dough ball onto a lightly floured surface and roll it with your hands into a smooth, even ball.

Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside to proof at room temperature (70° to 80°F) for 1 to 2 hours, or until the dough ball roughly doubles in size.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Punch down the dough and divide it into 6 portions of 5 ounces each. Lightly flour your work surface. Working with one dough piece at a time (keep the other pieces lightly covered with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out), roll it into a smooth, even ball. Pinch the bottom of the ball to seal it closed, being careful not to trap any big air pockets while rolling it. The texture of the dough should be smooth when rolled. Set the balls onto an 18 x 13-inch baking sheet coated with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and proof for another 20 minutes—the balls will increase slightly in size and become much more workable.

Set each dough ball onto a lightly oiled surface and using the tips of your fingers, shape the dough into rounds, while creating a dimpled pattern on top. (Those dimples will trap the oil and other condiments when you serve it.) As you shape the dough, it will get slightly wider in diameter, but don’t worry about trying to spread it out thin. Once you have a round shape with good dimples, you’re ready to go.

Pour the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil into an 18 x 13-inch rimmed baking sheet. Place the shaped focaccias on top and season with flaky salt, pepper, and rosemary leaves.

If your oven isn’t large enough to fit all 6 breads at the same time, divide everything in half and bake in two batches.

Bake for about 5 minutes, then rotate the pan front to back and bake until the focaccias are light golden on the top and bottom, another 3 minutes. If making in advance, you can warm them again in the oven at 350°F for about 2 minutes. When ready to assemble the sandwich, halve the focaccia across, like a bagel.

Make the Horsey Goat: Using a silicone spatula, gently fold together the goat cheese, cream, and horseradish until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Assemble the Sandwich: Sprinkle the tomatoes with kosher salt. They should be nice and salty, but not inedible.

Smear the goat cheese on half of each focaccia, and top it with the salted tomatoes.
Add the shallots, capers, cucumber, and dill. Sprinkle the top with sesame, poppy, flax, and sunflower seeds and finish with flaky sea salt.

NOTE: Focaccia is best the day it is made. You can freeze the leftovers and use them for croutons or Breadcrumbs. Give yourself plenty of time for this, as the dough will have to proof (rise) for an hour or two before it is baked.

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Adapted from On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen by Jeremy Fox (Phaidon, April 2017).

Yield

6 servings