After a few weeks of binge quiche-making and a brunch at Russ & Daughters, the Lower East Side Manhattan restaurant that specializes in smoked fish and Jewish tradition, I came up with this recipe. Think bagels and lox, the Sunday-morning meal of millions of New Yorkers, Jewish or not. But to say “bagels and lox” is to shortchange the dish. What you want with your bagel and smoked salmon (lox is one kind) is “the works”: cream cheese, red onions, capers, dill and tomato. And that’s what you get in this tart.
To capture the spirit and flavor of the weekend special, I did a couple of things I’d never done before for a tart: I used raw red onion, so that it would retain some of its texture (I usually cook the onion before adding it to something to be baked); I speckled the tart with small chunks of cream cheese; and I tossed in capers. As often happens, the oven’s heat was the magic ingredient, making all these firsts seem as right as the Lower East Side ritual and just as tasty.
If you’d like your tart to look like the one in the photo, cut the cream cheese into chunks so they won’t melt completely, and reserve some of the capers and dill to scatter over the top with the tomatoes.
Working Ahead: You can prebake the crust up to two months ahead and keep it, wrapped airtight, in the freezer.