Colazione is Italian for either breakfast or lunch. That there isn’t a proper word for breakfast befits most Italians’ habit of gulping down an espresso or cappuccino while munching on some carbs, possibly a croissant, a cookie or some toast with jam. Even the introduction of breakfast cereals hasn’t done much to change ingrained habits. Pancakes, waffles and eggs in general are most definitely not a breakfast item. My mother still curiously peeks at me when I poach eggs at 7 am. Which is why I decided to introduce her to all manners of Anglo-Saxon breakfast goodies. Pancakes were a hit but no surprises there, they are carbs. But even lox and eggs, a very Jewish dish, went down very well.
Like most people, I tend to buy lox at the market – it’s not cheap and I always intend to cure my own but I never do. Like most people. Yet, it is so simple.
Start with a piece of raw salmon. I will not give measured ingredients as it all depends on how big your salmon piece is.
Mix 1 part kosher salt to 2 parts sugar and add your spirit of choice, usually vodka. To infuse the lox with other flavors, you can use flavored vodka but I stick to regular one. Mix with your hands – you want a sandy consistency, like a paste, and you want enough to cover both sides of the fish evenly. To this paste you can add herbs, like thyme for instance.
Coat the salmon on both sides, covering it completely with the sugar/salt/vodka mix. Place it on a perforated pan (like the top of a roasting pan) so it can drain while it cures. Cover it with a flat pan, like a baking pan, on which you will place something heavy, for instance, a few cans of whatever is in your pantry. Refrigerate for 3 days. On day 2, flip the salmon. On day 3, you will see how it has cured and acquired that shiny patina and deeper color we associate with lox. Remove whatever paste is still on it, slice it and reach for the bagels.