According to Gourmet Food Store, "Cold smoking is a lengthy process of curing salmon also known as dry or wet curing." You may have heard that eating raw fish, like cold smoked salmon, can be dangerous. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, "raw fish ... or foods made with raw fish are more likely to contain parasites or bacteria than foods made from cooked fish," especially if you aren't sure it has been prepared properly. But if your salmon comes from a reputable distributor, it's safe to enjoy this food in a variety of ways. Cold smoked salmon (also known as lox) can be found in many great recipes, but the most traditional and easy to prepare is the classic combination with a bagel, red onion and a little lemon or lime.
Things You'll Need
Packaged cold smoked salmon
New York style bagel
Lime or lemon (optional)
Read the salmon's packaging to determine that it comes from a reputable source. If the salmon is vacuum-packed and comes from a large distribution company that you recognize, this is a good sign that it's safe. Also, most reputable salmon distributors will make a note of their cold-smoking process on the label.
Take the salmon out of the package, and look at the color of the meat. If it looks pink and smells smokey, this is a good sign. If it looks chalky or yellow and smells acrid, steer clear. Depending on what type of cut you have, there will be thick or thin white lines through the fish. These lines can show you how fatty your cut is and are harmless.
Slice the fish into long, thin pieces. Some cold smoked salmon comes sliced very thinly, and some comes in a thicker steak. If you have the thicker variety, hold your knife sideways, and cut right to left through the middle of the steak, like cutting a bagel in half. Your salmon is now safe and ready to eat. If you'd like, you can eat it right out of the package. But if you'd like to try the traditional serving method, continue to step four.
Slice a fresh bagel in half. Use a New York style bagel, which is savory and is boiled prior to baking. Don't toast the bagel. Simply cut it in half lengthwise and spread a layer of cream cheese, about one centimeter thick, onto each half.
Lay slices of cold smoked salmon over the cream cheese on each half of the bagel. How much salmon you use is up to you, but most people prefer a relatively thin layer.
Slice a red onion into thin, circular slices. Lay a few slices on top of the salmon on each half of the bagel. For taste, try sprinkling a few drops of lemon or lime juice on the top.
Always re-seal salmon in an airtight container and refrigerate or freeze for storage.
This recipe is also good with capers.
Beware of un-packaged products sold in open fish markets.