Beet bagels. I know. Like rubies in bread form, am I right? These gorgeous, gorgeous beet bagels came to me, as the Samoa Cheesecake Cups of yore, in a dream. This dream started with a salad. One that I ate alone in a Paris bistro years ago. I was very young then, full of all the romantic notions that came with living in Paris with no money and scads of free time.
Though I had good friends in Paris, most of my fondest memories are of strolling alone and stumbling across something so lovely, so perfect, that it seemed like I was the first to discover the wonder of it. Like this salad. It looked like a plate of jewels–roasted beets sliced in thin circles nestled between bright orange sections and topped with a boisterous Roquefort that gave new meaning to blue cheese.
At the time I was nineteen-years-old and did not know how to cook. But I knew how to eat. I savored each bite of that salad like it held a secret for me alone. I have tried many beet salads since that day and, of course, none have ever matched up. How could they?
But these bagels?
Friends, cue the choir. These beet bagels hold the trace memory of that salad but in a new found format. Ruby red and spiked with garlic, thyme, and onion, these bagels have none of the earthiness that beet-haters detest. Rather, they taste like a suggestion of spring mornings where the air is crisp but you know that winter is just about to end.
Toasted and smeared with whipped blue cheese with a hint of orange, they make the most perfect breakfast. I promise.
P.S. I am newly obsessed with nigella seeds (they are what make naan bread even more awesome). They taste like a mix of onion and pepper and add the perfect amount of zing to the bagels.
P.P.S. These bagels would be perfect for Valentine’s brunch. I mean, just look at them!
BEET BAGELS WITH WHIPPED BLUE CHEESE
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3/4 cup roasted beet puree (roast a large beet, or a few small ones, at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes then mash with a fork or pulse in a blender/food processor. I don’t even bother taking the skins off.)
- 3 1/2-4 cups bread flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 egg (for the wash)
- Nigella (or poppy) seeds for topping
- 2 oz. blue cheese crumbles (half of a tub)
- 6 oz. whipped cream cheese (or 6 oz. 1/3 fat cream cheese)
- zest from one orange