Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lox Love

Last weekend I threw together a lox dip for a casual get-together my parents had with me and our neighbors, Dale and Cathy. It was just a few ingredients and turned out pretty darn good, if I don’t say so myself.

When I was opening the package of lox, I got to thinking about smoked salmon and lox and wondered if there was a difference. After a little research, it turns out that lox is a type of cold-smoked salmon, that’s also been brine-cured to give it that wonderful saltiness. Apparently sugar can be added to the brine, too, though what we had was not sugary. With regards to smoking, cold-smoking gives the salmon a smoky flavor, but it doesn’t cook it completely. This process takes anywhere from one to three weeks and the smoke temperature never rises above 100 degrees. The hot-smoking process involves hotter smoke and takes just six to 12 hours. This method actually cooks the salmon in addition to adding smokiness to the flavor. Because it’s cooked completely, hot-smoked salmon has a very different taste and texture than the cold-smoked variety. Before I understood these nuances, I experienced this difference myself when I ordered a lox-and-egg scramble for brunch at Noshville in Nashville (love that name!). When I dug in I realized the heat from the eggs had cooked the lox. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting but still pretty tasty.
Here’s the recipe for my lox dip. It’d probably be good with capers and dill too. What do you think?
PS: Thanks for the food photography Dad!
Lox Dip
3 tablespoons reduced fat mayo
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 garlic cloves, chopped
12 oz. lox or other cold-smoked salmon (if you don’t like the added saltiness), roughly chopped
Rye crachers or toasts, assorted crackers or anything crunchy and dippable!
salt and pepper to taste
Combine first six ingredients in a medium bowl; mix thoroughly. Stir in lox. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 4-6 appetizer servings

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