New York Style Lox & Bagels

I may have mentioned once or twice (or maybe ten million times) that I grew up in New York. So my childhood was filled with pizza, bagels with lox and cream cheese, Sunday night Chinese take out, and diners. Many a weekend breakfast was spent with my family at various Long Island diners. (If you been in one you’ve been in them all – run by Greeks, filled with Jews.) One of my favorite things to order at the diner was Lox, Eggs, and Onions. And my dad always had to order it for me because he knew how to order it best – “eggs loose, onions well done”.

I have recently began to make this delicious breakfast myself at home, and it is even better than what I remember getting at the diner. I am sharing my recipe with you all in this post.

Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk fish. Lox, nova, nova lox – it’s all the same thing. And what it is is cured and cold smoked salmon. Yum! It is the stuff of dreams (well, my dreams). The name is derived from the German word “lachs” and the Yiddish word “laks”, both meaning salmon. Nova can sometimes be confused with smoked salmon, which are indeed two completely different things. Smoked salmon is hot smoked, so it is cooked, which provides a very different final texture and flavor compared to a cold smoked salmon. Cold smoked salmon is technically raw because it never reaches over 90F. You may have also heard of Gravlax, which is a Nordic preparation of salmon. In Gravlax, the salmon is cured with a spice rub usually containing salt, sugar, paprika and dill. It is then weighed down to push out all the moisture and cures for about 3 days. Gravlax is not smoked at all, so it is also a raw application of salmon. I love salmon – raw and cooked – and all of these different preparation are delicious. However, nova remains my favorite.

Now, I am definitely a snob when it comes to what nova I will eat. I prefer to buy only from places (usually good delis) where they cut their nova fresh from the fish. You may have trouble finding such a place outside of New York and New Jersey, unless you have a quality Jewish deli in your area. I live in DC now, and the only place I have found with acceptable nova is Parkway Deli. When I am home in New York, for all my bagels and lox needs, I go to Gold & Meyers which has remained my favorite bagel place and deli since I was a youngster. (they actually don’t have a website, so just google it if you want to take a trip). I generally stay away from any prepackaged vacuum sealed stuff. I have also tried lox from Whole Foods, which I was not impressed with. However, if these are your only options, it is absolutely better than nothing. Don’t let my snobbishness dissuade you from buying some. 🙄 (I’ll give myself an eyeroll for my mini-digression here).

Lox, Eggs, & Onions

1/4 pound nova
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced in half moons
5 eggs (or 2 whole eggs and 4 egg whites)
3 tablespoons milk
salt and pepper
Start by heating the olive oil in a saute pan over low heat. Add the thinly sliced onions and allow to brown over low heat for about 20-25 minutes. The amount of time will depend on your preference for the doneness of the onions, I like mine to be pretty well done.
While the onions are browning, prepare your eggs and nova. Coarsely chop the nova in medium to large sized chunks.
Whisk together your eggs and milk, and add salt and pepper to taste. Side Note: Normally, when I make eggs, I use 1 whole egg for each person I am cooking for and then add 2 additional whites per person. It is an easy way to cut out some of the fat and cholesterol in egg yolks, while not feeling deprived by eating only egg whites. It is a great compromise, and quite honestly, I don’t really notice a marked difference in the taste of my eggs when I cook them this way.
Once your onions are done, pour your eggs into a non stick fry pan and then add the onions and mix around, scrambling the eggs. When your eggs are cooked and scrambled, remove from the heat and add your chunks of nova. Serve immediately.
It is of the utmost importance to not add the nova until the eggs are completely cooked and off the heat and to serve this immediately. There will be some carry over cooking of the salmon, but you really want to minimize this as much as possible.
Beautiful freshly cut nova, sliced perfectly thin. Check out this ridiculous knife: Wusthof Classic 12-Inch Hollow-Ground Salmon Slicer

that is used to slice the salmon like that. (we actually bought this because when we were going through a gravlax making phase – it works great for thinly slicing any fish).

With a wonderful NY bagel.


Onions, well done:

Chunks of nova ready for eggs.

Eggs & onions cooking away: