Celebrate this Labor Day with bagels, and not just because they make great brunch or picnic food, but because they are an important part of Jewish labor history.
Jews started or helped found many unions. Among them was one that began in 1907 to represent Jewish bagel makers in New York. The International Beigel Bakers Union (later the Bagel Bakers Local 338) controlled production until automated machines came along in the 1960s, so it seems fitting to eat a bagel or two on the holiday that honors the early labor movement.
Bagel with an Egg in Its Eye is a sandwich with an egg fried in the bagel’s hole. The Smoky Dill Yogurt Cheese Spread gives bagels a tangy and smoky taste reminiscent of lox. The artichoke and tuna spread is Laurie Leiber’s favorite and one she shares in her bagel-making classes at Bake Your Own Amazing Bagels (www.bakeyourownamazingbagels.com).
Bagel with an Egg in Its Eye
Makes 1 sandwich
1 vegetarian sausage patty (optional)
1 plain or savory bagel
2-3 Tbs. butter, divided
1 large egg
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 slice Swiss cheese
1 slice tomato
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
Cook sausage. Keep warm. Slice bagel in half horizontally. Enlarge the hole in the rounded top half of the bagel so it measures about 2” in diameter. (See note.)
Melt 1 Tbs. butter in fry pan over medium low heat. Add bagels cut side down. Brown, pressing down with spatula to flatten slightly. Flip so cut sides are up.
Add 1-2 Tbs. more butter as needed. Carefully break egg into the enlarged hole of top bagel, centering yolk in middle of hole (egg white will run a bit, that is fine). Season with salt and pepper and cook until egg begins to set. Flip top bagel half over to cook egg sunny side down. Place cheese on cut side of bottom half.
Cook until egg is done, another minute or so, and cheese is beginning to melt. Remove cheesy bottom half from pan and place on plate. Top with sausage patty, tomato slice and hot sauce. Place the top half egg side down to make sandwich.
Note: Technique works best with large-size eggs. To use extra-large or jumbo, widen hole to about 21/2 inches.
Smoky Dill Yogurt Cheese Spread
Makes about 1 cup
1 cup labne (also called kefir cheese or spreadable yogurt cheese)
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh dill
1/8 tsp. finely ground sea salt
1/8 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. liquid smoke
Combine labne with dill, salt, sugar and liquid smoke. Mix well. Refrigerate until chilled. Taste and correct seasoning. Use chilled as a spread for bagels.
Laurie Leiber’s Tuna and Artichoke Spread
Makes about 2 cups
12 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
2 (5 oz.) cans albacore tuna in olive oil, drained
1 Tbs. capers, drained
2 tsp. minced lemon zest
3-4 Tbs. mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. ground sea salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. ground black peer, or to taste
Place artichokes in food processor bowl. Process until coarsely chopped. Add tuna, capers, lemon zest, 3 Tbs. mayo and salt and pepper. Pulse until almost at desired texture (from very smooth to somewhat chunky). Taste. Correct seasoning and add additional mayonnaise if needed and finish processing. Use room temperature or chilled as a spread for bagels or as a dip.
To make by hand, chop artichoke and tuna to desired texture. Chop capers. Mix artichokes, tuna and capers with zest, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.