|This is lox, not smoked salmon.|
My Uncle Harry said he ate smoked fish for breakfast every day of his life. I envy him. When I was growing up, smoked fish was a regular part of my diet. Mainly we ate salmon, whitefish, and sable. (Sable is a type of black cod.) Today, I have it seldom, mainly because of the expense. Still, every few months I treat myself to a quarter pound of lox, which translates into two glorious breakfasts.
Although most people consider lox and smoked salmon to be synonymous, they are not. Lox is actually brined, with the exception of Nova lox, which is lightly brined and then cold smoked. Lox is moist and translucent; smoked salmon is dryer, thicker, and opaque. (Gravlox is still another form of cured salmon, but this food is Nordic in origin.)
In my birth family, there were long discussions about which type of lox was tastiest: Nova or belly lox. Frankly, I don't care. I love them both. According to some, lox is an aphrodisiac, which might explain its popularity in my family. I don't think I have ever attended a Jewish celebration or funeral where lox was not offered.
Lox is traditionally served with bagels, cream cheese, red onion, and capers. I also like it on crackers and with cottage cheese or scrambled eggs. The saltiness pairs well with bland foods. For years, I avoided buying lox because it cost so much, but my British friend Pat started a tradition of serving lox and bagels on Christmas morning. I have continued her tradition to this day, and have even expanded it somewhat. Compared to many other fish, lox no longer seems as extravagant as it once did, and a little goes a long way.