Smoked Salmon Breakfast

Smoked Fish. I love it all. Smoked salmon, smoked trout, smoked whitefish, smoked sable… I’m the type of girl who would rationalize a one day trip to New York City – as long as I could pick up some smoked fish at Zabars before heading home.

This adoration started early. Growing up in New Hampshire, my parents and I would frequent Seaport Fish every week to get all our seafood needs. I was always on board for this trip, because from the age of about one, the staff at seaport fish started bribing me with smoked salmon. Honestly, I must have gotten an entire salmon’s worth of smoked salmon for free over my childhood.

While I generally interchange the terms smoked salmon, nova, nova lox, and lox, there is technically a difference between them- here’s a simple breakdown:
Nova or Lox are usually what we see when we order the platter from the deli, or on the bagel – the fish has been cured in a liquid brine and cold smoked.
Scottish style salmon is cured in a dry brine, and then cold smoked.
Nordic smoked salmon is salt cured and then cold smoked.
Gravlax is generally cured in a mixture that has more herbs and spices including dill and juniper berry.

These are not to be confused with hot-smoked salmon, which you may see in packages by the fish counter – hot smoking makes the fish feel like cooked fish, whereas cold smoking makes it a little more like the consistency of sushi.

Side of Scottish_ Unsliced

(Photo: Russ and Daughters)

Where to find good smoked fish:

If you live on a seacoast, particularly in New England, you would be in luck. Most local fish markets will carry good quality salmon. If you are near a city, you might try going to an old style Jewish deli. When buying packaged, I like Ducktrap,  particularly the “Kendall Brook Variety” which comes from Maine. I find that packaged however are sort of luck of the draw – I like being able to taste a little bit before I buy it, to make sure it’s not too salty for my taste.

I picked up mine for breakfast at our new Whole Foods in Noe Valley, so if you live near one of these you might check out their fish department, and see if they will give you a little sample.

If all else fails, you can just order it from either of the two golden sources – Zabar’s fish counter, or Russ and Daughters and they will ship it to you, right quick. While you are at it, order a jar of salmon caviar from either of these guys and you won’t be disappointed.

A few things you can do with smoked salmon:

:: The composed breakfast (see above) – toast, dry farmed early girl tomatoes, and ripe avocado – spreads like cream cheese.

:: Smoked salmon on a bagel (or brown bread, or rye bread, or seedy bread ie: anadama) with *full fat* cream cheese, and slices of onion if you are so inclined. *Please note, unfortunately, I spent several years of my life with nothing but fat free cream cheese in my refrigerator. Don’t make the same mistake.

:: Smoked salmon pinwheels – great for the lunchbox (either just salmon and cream cheese, or wrap style in a tortilla)

:: Smoked salmon with scrambled eggs.

Any brilliant salmon ideas? I’m always looking for more!