Smoked salmon can be traced back to 1,000 B.C. In the United states, it goes back to the turn of the century ÄÄ to Brooklyn and Queens, birthplace of the New York deli. For centuries seafood was smoked for the purpose of preservation; today it's smoked almost exclusively for flavor.
Actually, smoking does very little to preserve seafood; it's the brining that precedes it that prolongs shelf life. For example, the beloved lox of the New York deli trade never saw smoke until the 1940s. Other fish, carp, trout, and sturgeon, were smoked, but not salmon. Traditional lox, usually king salmon from the Pacific Northwest, was salted in barrels for up to a year and shipped by train from Seattle to New York. Rinsed in fresh water, it was ready to eat. Sugar was added to the brine to help mask the salt.
The difference between lox and nova is salt. Nova has much less of it; i.e., nova is a milder cure. Nova is also traditionally made from Atlantic salmon from Nova Scotia, hence nova.
While there's still a hankering for lox among older-generation Jews who grew up on it in the big cities, the market is now almost entirely for milder nova ÄÄ so much so that the distinction has been all but lost. Lox has come to mean almost any mild-cured salmon.
The smoked seafood business received a boost a few years ago when the FDA dropped a 5% minimum salt requirement for preservation, enabling smokers to produce milder products more in keeping with the tastes of the times. /this opened the door to a host of new smoked products which are lower in salt and often a great value because of the lower cost of raw material compared to the best salmon.
There are two kinds of smoked seafood; hot-smoked and cold-smoked. A hot-smoked product is cooked and a cold-smoked product isn't.
Talking Smoked ÄÄ A Guide to the Lingo
Cold-Smoked: a smoked product that isn't cooked, i.e., one that smoked to an internal temperature no higher than 85øF.
Hot-Smoked: temperatures vary from smoker to smoker, but generally the internal temperature of hot-smoked products reaches 140øF or more.
Curing: a preservation method that can involve any combination of smoking, salting, drying, fermenting or acid curing.
Mild Cure: a term applied mainly to salmon, mild cure means low salt content.
Hard-Smoked: a smoked product that is heavily salted and low in moisture for a longer shelf life. Indian cured salmon (sometimes called "squaw candy") is hard-smoked; another example is salmon jerky.
Kippered: in the U.K., kippered refers to a product; cold-smoked herring (called "kippers"). In the U.S., kippered refers to the process of hot-smoking. It can be applied to any number of species that have been hot-smoked.
Lox: the word "lox" is a Yiddush corruption of the German word lachs for salmon. Traditionally it is salmon that is salted and held in barrels for up to a year before being rinsed in fresh water and marketed. More recently, lox refers to any mild-cured smoked salmon.
Your SMOKED SALMON is ready. Bon appetit!
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