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Smoked Salmon vs. gravlax


Jenikaye
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I've had something that was called "smoked salmon", but it wasn't dry....it was more raw feeling. Is there a way to "smoke" salmon without drying it out so much? Or was I eating gravlax? It wasn't THAT smokey, but I'm sure the smokiness of the fish would be the distinctive factor. (And probably the texture)

Gravlax? or smoked salmon? And if smoked salmon, how would I make it like that?

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Smoked salmon comes in two distinct varieties: hot smoked, or kippered, and cold smoked, or Nova lox. The main difference is the brining process and the temperature during the smoking process. Hot smoked salmon is fully cooked to 145 degrees where as cold smoked salmon is smoked at 80 degrees and is actually cured but still raw and so should be frozen for parasite control.
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Gravlax is not cooked but more cured/brined in its juices really ...

click here for a bazillion ways to smoke salmon .. just don't inhale! :laugh:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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IMO Gravlax is superior to smoked salmon - simply because I believe its more versatile.

If there is any smokey flavour, its not gravlax. Gravlax is typically a salmon filet, with sugar/salt/dill (or your choice of seasoning) put between a few bricks in the fridge for a few days.

Mmmmm this makes me want to make some gravlax!

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Thank you Gifted Gourmet and sadistick!

I've been reading through all of the old posts on smoked salmon and gravlax all morning.

Your link, Gifted Gourmet, leads me to believe that I must have been eating a cold smoked salmon.

And I'm tempted now to try my hand at gravlax. I've got some fresh salmon that's been in the freezer...you think that would work?

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Is there any difference between gravlax and lox?

The texture of gravlax falls somewhere between sashimi and store-bought lox ... the store bought is usually much saltier whereas the gravlax has a brighter, fresher taste.

Gravlax is a cured salmon. Lox is salmon that is smoked. It has a rather smoky and very salty flavor.

Dreadlocks are ropy mats of hair that have been allowed to grow out over time. They are sure to make a Jewish mother exclaim loudly "Oy vey izmir!" (Oh, woe is me!) :laugh:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Okay, so I've got my gravlax (before the days of terrorists I used saltpetrer) now who's the expert on slicing it so you get those nice thin slices?

Mine comes off in globs. One place I have been in cuts it is chucks rather than try to slice it thin is this okau? Suggestions for slicing.

dave

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who's the expert on slicing it so you get those nice thin slices?

To slice the gravlax, you will need a cutting board and a very sharp long-bladed knife. Starting 1" from one end, and holding the knife almost parallel to the board, and cut a section out of the salmon; this will not be a perfect piece, as it bears a "corner" of the fillet... Getting back to the fillet, move the edge of your knife slightly in from where you began to slice before, continue holding it almost parallel to the board but angled oh-so-slightly downward, and cut another slice down to the skin and then turning the knife up to separate the slice from the skin. Continue doing this until the entire fillet has been sliced, and then slice the other one. Accept the reality that "practice makes perfect" when slicing gravlax.
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pictures here

With a long thin-bladed slicing knife, held at a very flat angle, start slicing a few inches from the narrow end of the fillet. Cut with a back-and-forth sawing motion, toward the narrow end, to remove a thin slice of fish. Start each succeeding slice a but farther in from the end of the fillet; always cut at a flat angle, to keep the slices long and as thin as possible. When the blade reaches the skin, shave the slice off – don’t cut through the skin.
from Julia Child on slicing gravlax

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Any appy (appetizer store, which is an endangered species) fish slicer will tell you that Lox is not smoked salmon. Lox is only brined, not smoked. Nova is smoked, but Nova isn't Lox, even if some improperly call it "Nova Lox", including some outlander delis. Lox is sometimes called "belly lox" or "salty lox". But it's lox. Everything else is a pretender. "Nova" is short for "Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon" which means it's smoked in a manner used in Nova Scotia, at least originally, since most "Nova" sold and consumed today is manufactured far from that Atlantic province.

(We're not getting into the Scandinavian language roots of "lax" or "lachs" since that will confuse this topic even more. What we're discussing here is the proper nomenclature as applied by NYC Jewish appy store fish slicers. Also, don't trust what a "deli" man tells you. He may know salami, but a "deli" deals in cured and processed meats, not smoked fish, except as a sideline.)

You may wish to consult the "Smoked and Cured Salmon" page of Russ & Daughters for confirmation. Note that nowhere on this page do they call smoked salmon "lox"; that term is reserved for "belly lox", "grav lox" and "pickled lox," none of which are smoked. Other do tend to use the word "lox" loosely (including the "Louvre of lox" quote from the Sunday Times of London, but what the hell do they know?) to refer to salmon, but that doesn't make it correct, unless you are misspelling the word for salmon (laks) in one of the Scandinavian languages.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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I have been ordering from Russ & Daughters for years and have personally spoken to them on this exact issue! You can call them if you wish for verification but lox can be either way, smoked or unsmoked or whatever, what it is NOT is hot smoked which is the #$%@#% point I was trying to make!-Dick

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I have been ordering from Russ & Daughters for years and have personally spoken to them on this exact issue! You can call them if you wish for verification but lox can be either way, smoked or unsmoked or whatever, what it is NOT is hot smoked which is the #$%@#% point I was trying to make!-Dick

Dick, I absolutely agree on the hot smoke point you make. In an appy store, that would be closer to "kippered" salmon, which, of course, is not at all like a British "kipper" (a herring, not a salmon).

I guess I'm a purist on NOT calling cold smoked salmon lox. I'll grant you that many people do, and I'm sure the folks at R&D told you want they told you. But their web site is very careful not to confuse the issue. Lox is lox and smoked salmon is smoked salmon. Yes, it's the same fish, but the different nomenclature reflects different processes. A prune is a plum, but a plum is not a prune. (The analogy isn't perfect, but you get the idea.)

I went to one of the few remaining "appy" stores in Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago, and when I asked for "lox" they double-checked to make sure I meant belly lox rather than nova. In other words, when you say "lox" their first interpretation is "belly lox", but they are aware that many people don't make the distinction, so they make an effort to assure that both parties mean the same thing.

That's why I'm a bit of a curmudgeon on this issue: words have meaning, and distinction of meaning is important.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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I have been ordering from Russ & Daughters for years and have personally spoken to them on this exact issue! You can call them if you wish for verification but lox can be either way, smoked or unsmoked or whatever, what it is NOT is hot smoked which is the #$%@#% point I was trying to make!-Dick

My fishmonger insists that smoked lox is not an oxymoron. Wikipedia agrees, as does Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition): "salmon which has been cured in brine and sometimes smoked".

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If you can't believe The Jerusalem Post and Acme Smoked Fish on the difference between lox and nova, who can you believe? Acme is one of the two major suppliers of nova, lox and other cured and/or smoked seafood products.

This article from Sam Cooks tackles the nomenclature confusion head-on, starting off with a definitive statement from one of the top honchos at Marshall (Acme's competitor).

Some other citations:

Smart Mouth, Cincinnati Enquirer

Horton's (from Google cache) - scroll down the page. Horton's was a premiered Maine smoked salmon house; looks like they've been aquiared by an aquaculture company.

To be honest, I've also come across any number of web references that insist lox is smoked. Which just goes to show that you can't trust anything you read on the web just because it's on the web. Know your source.

For me, I'll go with Acme and Marshalls.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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While I am not a fan of Martha Stewart's cooking, every now and then she comes up with something very useful. For instance, in slicing gravlax:

Her recipe called for using that pre-sliced "cocktail" pumpernickel--Hey! it works for me. She cut each slice of bread in half (so that you had a smaller, rectangluar piece instead of a square) and then used one of those half-slices to use as a measurement. In other words, you park that baby up against your nicely home-cured gravlax and cut the salmon across to fit the size of the bread and then slice the other way to slice a piece which will fit the bread wonderfully. Of course, this is for a party serving lots of people. BTW, she spread mustard on the bread first. I tried this the only time I made gravlax at home and I have to tell you: this really works and it is EASY. My only problem is that I don't generally have that many people to serve who like gravlax; otherwise, I would make it more often. :shock:

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