The Corner

Smoked Salmon

Oxblog is usually a good read, but sometimes it goes off the rails. Here’s Josh Chafetz making a fool of himself:

“One of the nice things about being so close to Scotland is cheap smoked salmon (and cheap Scotch, of course) — although the Scots could learn a thing or two from New York delis about how to smoke it. Anyway, smoked salmon must be eaten with a bagel, cream cheese, and red onion (or, as KS would want me to point out, scrambled with eggs and onion), and low fat cream cheese isn’t worthy of the name. Hence, “full fat” it is!”

This is nonsense. Ordinarily I would say that the cheese, the cement-bread better known as a bagel and the sensory overload represented by an onion would obliterate the delicate taste of smoked salmon, except that there is nothing delicate about the pink slabs of cured fish that New Yorkers call smoked salmon.

Proper smoked salmon is Scots, eaten with brown bread and butter and flavored with a little lemon juice. Come to think of it, this delicacy (along, perhaps with potted shrimps) is one of the few that does need brown bread. Everything else tastes better with Wonderbread, an often overlooked treat.

There’s more on this important topic over at Crooked Timber, but the writer there goes too far. The butter does not have to be Irish, and homemade bread is just pretentious. Store-bought will do just fine, and ignore those remarks in the comments section about capers. Capers are the anchovies of the vegetable kingdom – useless and rather nasty.

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