Preserved salmon: what terms mean

The Baltimore Sun

What are the differences between smoked salmon, Nova Scotia salmon, lox and gravlax?

All of these foods are examples of preserved, or cured, salmon. You could call salmon "the ham of the sea" because, as with the hind leg of the pig, this fatty, flavorful fish has been subject to all manner of preservation methods.

Lox is simply salmon that has been soaked in brine. The result is, predictably, very salty. "Belly lox" refers to the trimmed midsection of the fish, the fattiest part. Lox, whose name derives from "laks," the word for salmon in German and Yiddish, is not for the faint of heart, though it stands up admirably to a bit of cream cheese.

Nova Scotia salmon, also called Novi or Novi lox, originally was made from salmon that came from Nova Scotia, Canada, hence the name. Now it refers to any salmon that has been wet-cured in a not-too-salty brine and then cold-smoked.

Scottish smoked salmon is usually dry-cured, then cold-smoked. Irish smoked salmon is similar, but can be more heavily smoked.

Gravlax is a Scandinavian dish in which the salmon is dry-cured with salt, sugar, dill and spices and weighted to extract as much moisture as possible. Also called baked salmon, kippered salmon is first lightly brined, and then hot-smoked.

Erica Marcus writes for Newsday. E-mail your queries to, or send them to Erica Marcus, Food/Part 2, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Road, Melville, NY 11747-4250.

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