Salmon Lox

Written by Jared Vincenti
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Salmon lox is a popular spread with a salty, smoky flavor. Made from salmon fillets smoked at a low temperature, lox is uncooked salmon that stays soft enough to be spread. After being treated with a brine solution, the meat is smoked at about room temperature for an hour--long enough to get the flavor of the brine and the wood into the fish.

Types of Salmon Lox

Much like pizza, lox is a dish that can be very different, depending on where you get it. Geographical and cultural differences have yielded many variations on a theme, and as many new tastes. While the idea behind lox remains the same, the ingredients and methods can be modified quite easily.

The most familiar lox to most Americans is Nova Lox, from Nova Scotia. This is about the most standard lox, and it is made with a mild brine so that its flavor is not overpowering. Variations in brine ingredients are the easiest way to change the flavor of your lox, but you can also change the steps. Scottish lox applies the brine seasonings directly to the meat (also called dry-brining); Scandinavian lox soaks the salmon in brine but doesn't smoke it.

New chefs and new smokehouses are constantly trying to come up with new kinds of lox, and they have come up with varying degrees of success. Brine recipes are closely guarded secrets, and some special formulas have been passed down in families through generations. Also important in making lox is the type of wood smoked--as alder smoke gives a remarkably different flavor from apple, and so forth. Any hardwood will do well, but the choice can make or break a new recipe.

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