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Sunday, May 15, 2005

What Is the Difference between
Smoked Salmon and Lox?

In a comment to my recent posting about property rights and fish farms, Pooh writes

Do your taste buds a favour: next time you have smoked salmon with your bagels on Sunday morning, spring for the much more expensive wild variety. You will be amazed at the difference.
This comment prompted some e-discussion with BenS and Pooh about the differences between smoked salmon and lox. Here are some answers, courtesy of Pooh.

Here is one explanation

There is a difference between smoked salmon and lox. Smoked salmon is first cured in brine or with a dry rub, and then either cold- or hot-smoked. Fish smoked at a low temperature (cold-smoked) retains a silky texture like that of uncooked fish, while the hot-smoked type has the consistency of moist baked fish. Lox and gravlax (dill- flavored Scandinavian salmon) are not smoked, only cured in brine. The cold-smoked salmon favored by the French has a more subtle flavor than Jewish-style lox, and is therefore served on its own.
But for an even more-detailed discussion, see this site. Here is an excerpt:

Anne Willan, in the wonderful, encyclopedic La Varenne Pratique, says, "Smoked salmon is different from American lox (usually served with bagels and cream cheese) since lox is unsmoked, salted salmon." A pretty cheeky comment from a such a refined Englishwoman, even if she does spend part of each year in the US.

Actually, we had a hard time finding anyone on this side of the Atlantic who did not affirm that lox is smoked. Then we came across James McNair's Salmon Cookbook, in which the author says that lox is the most popular preserved salmon, that it is generally Pacific species that is cured in brine, soaked to remove the salt, then "sometimes still lightly smoked after soaking it, as it always was in the past."

But there is much more there, if you really want to know.

Pooh also provided a link for 5 thing to do with Lox.

And probably most informative of all is this link.
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