You know the saying “the best thing since sliced bread?” I’m really glad we phased it out. It’s dumb. I’ve been trying to phase out sliced bread in general for years. Not just for me, but for humanity — really, for everyone who’s ever eaten a sandwich. I move that bread must be sliced no further than 20 feet from where it is to be made into a sandwich. And I’m pushing for alternative routes every step of the way, from global wrap sandwiches to the humble bialy.
Here’s everything you need to know about the bialy, including a recipe. And here’s the abridged version: a bialy is similar to a bagel, but it’s only baked, not boiled. Before it’s baked it’s filled with minced sautéed onions and poppy seeds. It’s chewy and dense like a bagel, but with a matte finish rather than shiny. If you experience a great one you will seriously consider committing bagel adultry, possibly long-term. You might want to start putting money away for your secret bialy family in the Polish part of Canada, where I’m sure they have truly excellent bialys.
Now, onto some suggestions. Any sandwich that has ever been improved with the addition of onions, caramelized or otherwise, should be tried on a bialy.
- Any of the legendary deli meats/meat composites/fishes — pastrami, chopped liver, corned beef, smoked salmon, etc.
- Your classic breakfast sandwich of a fried egg, cheese and any of the legendary breakfast meat trifecta. Do I even need to name them? Am I overusing the word legendary?
- Meatloaf. Something about the coming together of two forms of minced onions makes me weak at the knees. I hereby amend my six steps to the perfect meatloaf sandwich to include a bialy clause.
- Sardine, cream cheese and tomato, as nature and geography intended.
- Any other sandwich you’d trust inside a bagel. Remember, the same risk of jaw fatigue applies, so go easy on the stacking. I’m just looking out for you.
So select your bialy from the wire basket in the nice warm bakery (ignore the bialy from the plastic twist-tied bag) and trust that I won’t tell bagels. I’m really only concerned with your happiness.
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