Growing up in South Florida, lox was a pretty regular weekend breakfast treat. I remember having it with eggs and onions in a little little dump of a deli just South of Broward Boulevard on University Drive.
Lox is often used synonymously with salmon (more specifically smoked salmon). It is different though. Lox is technically not smoked and it has to have been cured in brine, or at least pre-salted. This is not meant to be a dis on the smoked salmon bagel, because that’s awesome too. It’s just not the same. Once you have the correct preparation, the other key is to slice that bad boy thin with the precision of Paul Cicero in Goodfellas.
The story of lox, is that fish was always kind of a big deal in celebrations among Jewish families, but fish itself was not so cheap. Being that Jewish families were historically very poor, they taught themselves a way to stretch the meat so everyone could have some. The meat was taken from a salted fish (the salt was for preservation purposes), it was chopped up, mixed with a bunch of veggies and carbs, shoved back into the skin and… Ooala! now you’ve got gifilte fish. Interesting, but thank God it’s not on my list of national food days.
Decades later, as families came into more money, salmon was a way of saying, “look at me now!” Salting the fish was still a tradition though, so they kept on keppin’ on.
When I moved to Tallahassee, lox dropped immediately out of my viable option list. I knew this because my first month here, I overheard the following conversation at Publix:
Shopper: (to friend) I’m going to make you breakfast tomorrow morning. (to Seafood Person) Excuse me?
Seafood Person: Yes?
Shopper: Do you carry lox?
Seafood Person: Do what now?
Shopper: Do you have any lox?
Seafood Person: I don’t know, but the hardware aisle is there behind you, isle 12.
So, when I saw lox on my list, I just knew I was going home for lunch today to try and make lox myself, which was a big, “Oy Gavalt!” Out of blind desperation, I still called around first. Bagel Bagel said nope. Breugger’s Bagels was a nuh-uh! And B2 (<– that’s bagel squared) asked, “Do what now?” Then, can you believe it? Bagelheads, said they do indeed carry lox!
When I was ordering, I was skeptical that they were just using smoked salmon that I could have gotten 2-minutes from my house, thus avoiding an extra 1/2 hour of traffic and a 20-minute detour to work. When they presented it, I still wasn’t convinced. But when I bit into it, sure enough! Creamy… salty… bagely… delicious! It wasn’t sliced thin, but I didn’t mind because I’m gluttonous. I really could eat it (or salmon and bagel actually) every day, and when my wife and I were on our cruise, I did!
Thanks Bagelheads. You rock! Also, you really know how to repurpose! This was genius.
(See you Friday for National Cream Cheese Brownie Day!)