Due to their similarities, smoked salmon and lox often get grouped together. But lox is its own food. Of Scandinavian descent, it is now ingrained as a very American specialty and, when paired with bagels, is an especially popular breakfast and brunch item. In fact, February 9 is National Bagel and Lox Day.
Know Your Lox
To eat lox, you first need to know what you are looking for in the store. Most grocery stores carry lox, but it is also an easy-to-find item in a Jewish deli. If you want the purist form of lox, look for one that came from the belly of the salmon, and make sure it was cured in salt instead of smoked. The less strict and more widely used definition of lox is salmon -- not necessarily the belly -- that has been cured as well as cold-smoked.
Don't Waste It
Knowing exactly what product you bought helps you decide how long it will keep in the refrigerator. If it is true lox -- cured but not smoked -- it should be eaten within seven to 10 days. If the salmon has been cold-smoked, it will keep in its unopened package for three weeks but should be eaten within a week of opening. Hot-smoked salmon, on the other hand, should be eaten within a few days.
The Traditional Way
Possibly the most popular way to eat lox in the United States is with bagels. The spread often includes bagels, lox, cream cheese, capers, tomatoes and red onions. This dish represents the melting pot of America with its ingredients hailing from different countries. If you want to make this dish a little healthier, mash a ripe avocado with lemon juice and spread it on the bagel instead of the cream cheese.
Think Outside the Bagel
As lox comes ready to eat, it makes a quick snack on its own or can easily be added to many dishes. Any time a recipe calls for smoked salmon, lox can be used instead, but true lox is saltier than traditional smoked salmon. Egg dishes such as eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs or deviled eggs benefit from the addition of lox, as do antipasto plates, salads and sushi rolls.
- NPR: No Schmear Job -- A Brief History of Bagels and Lox
- CNN: February 9 -- National Bagels and Lox Day
- Huffington Post: Smoked Salmon, Lox, Gravlax -- Is There a Difference?
- Bon Appetit: Smoked Salmon
- Russ & Daughters: Belly Lox
- Epicurious: The B.L.A.
- Huffington Post: Smoked Salmon Recipes -- Beyond the Bagel
- Photo Credit ITStock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images