Smoked salmon

Smoked salmon

Smoked salmon is a preparation of salmon, typically a fillet that has been cured and then hot or cold smoked. Due to its moderately high price, smoked salmon is considered a delicacy.


Smoked salmon is a popular ingredient in canapés, often combined with cream cheese and lemon juice, or 'bulked out' with other fish.

In America, smoked salmon is normally sliced very thinly and is often served on bagels with cream cheese, or on Melba toast with sliced red onion, lemon and capers.

In Europe, smoked salmon may be found thinly sliced or in thicker fillets (such as tsar fillet), or sold as chopped 'scraps' for use in cooking. It is often used in pâtés, quiches and pasta sauces. Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon mixed in is another popular dish.

Slices of smoked salmon are a popular appetiser in Europe, usually served with some kind of bread. In the UK it is typically eaten with brown bread and a squeeze of lemon; in Germany it is eaten on toast or black bread.

Smoked salmon is sometimes used in sushi, though not widely in Japan, and is more likely to be encountered in North American sushi bars, for example in a "BC roll" or "Philadelphia Roll".


In the Atlantic basin all smoked salmon comes from the Atlantic salmon, much of it farmed in Norway, the East coast of Canada (particularly in the Bay of Fundy) and Chile. In the Pacific, a variety of salmon species may be used.

UK labelling of smoked salmon

In the UK, under Food Labelling Laws, only Smoked Salmon produced totally in Scotland (from fishing or farming to packaging) can be called " 'Scottish Smoked Salmon' ". If salmon is sourced from elsewhere, then subsequently smoked in Scotland, it cannot be labelled as such, but may be labelled " 'Salmon smoked in Scotland' ". Alternatively, Scottish sourced salmon that is then smoked elsewhere, may be termed " 'Smoked Scottish salmon' ". [ FSA - Food Origin Labelling] Accessed 26/11/2007 (PDF)] [ Houston Press - ' "Put Down That Fish!" ' - August 9, 2001] Accessed 26/11/2007]

Cold smoking

Most smoked salmon is cold smoked, typically at 30C (approx 80F). The cold smoking does not cook the fish, resulting in a delicate texture. Although some smokehouses go for a deliberately 'oaky' style with prolonged exposure to smoke from oak chips, industrial production favours less exposure to smoke and a blander style, using cheaper woods.

Scottish and Irish smoked salmon is considered a delicacy, even with increased availability since the advent of fish farming from the 1970s. Smoked wild salmon is still available, but is very rare and very expensive and usually only available from specialist dealers. It is prized for its 'meaty' flavour and 'naturalness' compared to the 'flabby' texture of farmed salmon. There has been much overfishing of wild stocks and organisations such as the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization have tried to have all commercial fishing stopped; on the other hand there are concerns about the effects of salmon farms on the environment and on wild stocks, and about some of the chemicals and feeds that they use.

Cold smoked salmon is sometimes known in Canada and the United States as lox, particularly on the East Coast, the word being borrowed from German (Lachs: German for salmon) or Yiddish.

Hot smoking

Normally used for trout, hot smoking 'cooks' the salmon making it less moist, and firmer, with a less delicate taste. It may be eaten like cold smoked salmon, or mixed with salads or pasta.

Brining Salmon

Before smoking, salmon is often cured in a brining solution which contains salt, sugar or another type of sweetener, and optionally seasonings to add flavor. The proteins in the fish are modified by the salt, which enables the flesh of the salmon to hold moisture better than it would if not brined. The sugar is hydrophyllic, and also adds to the moistness of the smoked salmon. Salt and sugar are also preservatives, extending the storage life and freshness of the salmon.


Although superficially similar to smoked salmon, and often served alongside it or as an alternative, the Scandinavian dish gravlax (or grave salmon), is not smoked but cured. It can be used to flavor cream cheese and other spreads.

Indian Hard Smoked Salmon (once known by the term "squaw candy") is first kippered with salt, sugar and spices and then smoked until hard and jerky-like. See cured salmon.

ee also

* Lox


[ Smoked Salmon by Jet Set Sam]

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