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Smoked Fish

Types of Smoked Fish

Smoked fish is fish that has been cured by smoking. Foods have been smoked by humans throughout history. Originally this was done as a preservative. In more recent times fish is readily preserved by refrigeration and freezing and the smoking of fish is generally done for the unique taste and flavor imparted by the smoking process.

The most common types of smoked fish in the US are salmon, mackerel, whitefish and trout, although other smoked fish is also available regionally or from many ethnic stores. Salmon, mackerel and herring are universally available both hot-smoked and cold-smoked, while most other fish is traditionally preserved by only one of the smoking methods.

A common name for cold-smoked salmon is lox. Traditionally, lox designates brined rather than smoked salmon, but the linguistic boundary between the two types of products has become blurred. However, commercial labels still identify most smoked products as "smoked salmon" rather than "lox".

Most other smoked fish in the US is hot-smoked, although cold-smoked mackerel is always available in East-European delis. Jewish delis often sell, in addition to lox, hot-smoked mackerel and trout. Traditionally, in the US, cold-smoked fish, other than salmon, is considered "raw" and thus unsafe to consume without cooking. For this reason, in the US, cold-smoked fish is largely confined to specialty and ethnic shops.

Smoked fish is a prominent item in Russian cuisine, Ashkenazi Jewish Cuisine, and Scandinavian cuisine, as well as several Eastern and Central European cuisines and the Pacific Northwest cuisine.

In Israeli cuisine, smoked trout is traditionally eaten as part of meze, especially at breakfast.