Salmon's firm, meaty texture and high oil content make it ideal for smoking.

By Jennifer Martinkus
November 08, 2006
Jean Allsopp

Smoked salmon, whether cold- or hot-smoked, adds instant flavorto your favorite meals. Noted for its silken, buttery texture,cold-smoked salmon resembles sashimi, with a subtle, somewhat saltytaste. Often labeled "lox" or "Nova-style," the thin slices appearrichly colored and translucent.

Flavor comes from a lengthy curing process: Fillets are coveredwith a wet brine or dry rub for several days, then smoked using alow-and-slow technique―at 90 degrees for as long as threeweeks. Because the fish isn't fully cooked, it is perishable andmust be refrigerated. It's best served cold or slightly heated, andis often treated as a flavorful garnish.

By contrast, hot-smoked salmon has a firm texture and opaqueflesh that breaks into thick pieces, yet remains moist and oily. Itcures in less time, most often in a brine solution. The salmon alsosmokes at a higher temperature (about 150 degrees) but only forabout 12 hours. The flavor intensity depends on the processor, buthot-smoked salmon is generally more complex and less salty thancold-smoked. Fully cooked and shelf stable, it often shows up instores in decorative gift boxes.

Try smoked salmon in soups and egg dishes, or toss with saladgreens for robust flavor. Just remember: A little goes a long way.Start with small morsels, and add more according to taste.

The Case for Wine
Aside from his duties as CEO and president of Carnival CruiseLines, Bob Dickinson pursues his passion for wine. Evidence? Hiswine cellar contains more than 22,000 bottles, making it one of thecountry's largest private collections. As founder of thePresidential Wine Club, Bob insists that good wine be fun andaccessible. Celebrate a holiday brunch with Bob's recommendationsbelow.

Creamy Smoked Salmon-Scrambled Eggs over Asiago Potato Pancakes
Chardonnay or any bone-dry Spanish white

Smoked Salmon Benedict
Dry Spanish Cava (sparkling wine)

Peppered Three-Onion Tart with Smoked Salmon
J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay, Beringer Private ReserveChardonnay, or Kongsgaard Chardonnay