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So what is whitefish salad? It's just like tuna salad, but way, WAY better. First off, it's not made with tuna that's been boiled into a stringy disaster and left to sit in a can for two years. It's made with smoked whitefish, those small, gold-tinged whole fish you see in the refrigerator case at Jewish delis. Meet a friend of mine who can also appreciate this perfectly normal alternative to lox.

My good friend Henry comes from a famous Upper West Side Jewish deli-appetizing-heaven family. I’ll leave you to guess which one. We were discussing bagels the other day, as Upper West Side Jews like ourselves will, when he brought up one of my very, very favorite things to put on a bagel. And I’ve come up with some pretty blasphemous things to put on a bagel.

One morning he went to school early for a study group and brought along a care package from Za…uh, the store: bagels, cream cheese, lox, whitefish salad, all the fixins. 

“Everyone was like ‘ooh, bagels and lox!’ And me and (insert Jewish last name I can’t remember here) were the only ones who went for the whitefish. It was cray. I love that stuff.”

I do too, Henry! But unfortunately the population of folks who know about this normal bagel topping in our circles is wildly small. And largely confined to our neighborhood and parts of Long Island (and Boca for the wintah). I’ll eat it with you any day of the week, mishpucha.

So what is whitefish salad? It’s just like tuna salad, but way, WAY better. First off, it’s not made with tuna that’s been steamed into a stringy, gummy disaster and left to sit in a can for two years. It’s made with smoked whitefish, those small, gold-tinged whole fish you see in the refrigerator case at Jewish delis. Scrape the meat off those bones and mix it with mayo, sour cream, chopped fresh dill and celery and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. It’s smoked fish you can eat with a spoon. But it’s really amazing on a bagel. And if you melt a slice of Muenster on top, just, stop. Stop now. I’m getting ferklempt.

Then Henry and I talked about who our favorite Nova slicers are at the smoked fish counter. I like David.

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