Thursday, September 24, 2015

Notes on Lox

The difference between lox in Maine and in New York City is as follows:

In Maine, the lox was likely smoked or cured either in-house, or at a small facility a bit further up the coast. It was not caught locally--the salmon fishery has been closed for some years--but if it is an Atlantic salmon, it was probably caught in some North Atlantic fishery to which our local industry is tied by ocean currents, history, and patterns of European settlement. It is delicious, but unfortunately, odds are that the person behind the counter at the local purveyor from which you purchase it has no idea how to cut a smooth, thin slice.

In New York City, the lox is also delicious, though the salmon had to travel a few hundred more miles before being smoked or cured. It likely spent some time in a Brooklyn warehouse and a Brooklyn factory. If you go to the right places--a Barney Greengrass, a Zabar's, a Russ & Daughters--it will be sliced perfectly. And it will cost an arm and a leg.

A potentially controversial revelation: A slice of roasted beet is better on a bagel with cream cheese and lox than a slice of tomato. This is a welcome revelation, since in Maine good, fresh tomatoes are available less than 1 month/year, whereas beets are eternal.

For the inevitable moment when you run out of cream cheese before bagels--inevitable because your younger child's method of eating bagels with cream cheese is to lick the cream cheese off the bagel and then demand "More!"--here is an alternate method for getting that lox and beet to stick to your bagel:

Lox and Beet Salad/Spread

  • Two slices of lox
  • One slice of the aforementioned beet, lightly dressed with salt and apple cider vinegar
  • Just enough Greek yogurt to work the ingredients together (about 2 Tablespoons)

  1. Shred the lox finely by hand.
  2. Dice the beet finely, in pieces about the same size as the shreds of lox.
  3. Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix until it is smooth and the yogurt is uniformly pink.

Yield: Enough to generously top both halves of a bagel from Forage Market in Lewiston.