My Resolution to Start Smoking This New Year


I think the first time I had smoked fish was in sushi, not the oft walked Jewish path of lox on a bagel with cream cheese. I had plenty of exposure to smoked salmon and smoked whitefish salad, mostly at bat mitzvah luncheons and funerals. Unfortunately, my personal smoked fish craze didn’t hit until I was living in DC, and we notoriously lack Jewish delis.

However, 80 and I just celebrated friends’ wedding in southern Florida, eating and partying our way through Sunny Isles Beach, Hollywood and West Palm Beach. And wow, it was nice to be around the Jews. I never can find the pleasure of smoked whitefish in the District. There are maybe 2 New York style delis in the area, and I haven’t fell in love with either of them.

But in Florida! Florida!

After the nuptials, 80 and I visited with my grandmother. While at lunch I schmeared smoked whitefish salad on a pumpernickel bagel (80 choose wrongly and ordered the *lean* pastrami sandwich and Mommom took down matzah brei, a bagel and hash browns). Whitefish salad is less pungent than smoked salmon, it’s creamier than a tuna salad consistency, but with a saltier, less generic taste. It also doesn’t reek of mayo.

Later that day at my aunt and uncle’s golf clubhouse, the free (!) snacks offered in the bar area were smoked whitefish salad right next to boursin cheese (It was actually quite funny, they had a chef in full whites slicing the boursin on a wooden cutting board akin to prime rib), swiss cheese triangles, broccoli florets, grape tomatoes and crackers. It was a mid-winter miracle.

So apparently we’re in week four of the New Year. I had this majestic resolution—obviously food related—but I haven’t started it yet. I will start making claims now. I will hopefully cash them in before 2011.

I will smoke a white fish. Whatever a white fish is. I will then take that smoked white fish and make a salad out of it.


(Photo: PS95)

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  • BS January 20, 2010  

    That’s a good point. What IS a whitefish?

  • Tim January 20, 2010  

    I agree that DC is lacking in good Jewish delis, but there are a couple of acceptable options.

    Morty’s (previously Krupin’s) in Tenleytown/DC has all of the standards (brisket, whitefish, Matzo, cole slaw, pickles on the tables, etc.)

    Chutzpah in Fair Oaks (Fairfax, VA) is outstanding and, while their sandwiches are the stars, also comes through with a traditional NY, Jewish deli menu.

    I’ve also heard so much about So’s Your Mom, but still haven’t been there after all these years. Anyway, I’ve been to both of the above places and definitely vouch for them, relative to the other options in DC.

  • gansie January 20, 2010  

    when i quickly googled “whitefish salad recipe” i got something that called for “4 lbs smoked whitefish” as an ingredient. not a help!

  • dad gansie January 20, 2010  

    Smoked whitefish is a good thing. And enjoying them in 70 Fl vs 40 dc weather isn’t bad either
    lucky you two

  • robyn January 20, 2010  

    Hi Stef, love your blog and your whitefish story.. I’ll ask my sister how they make it.. she works in a jewish deli in north east philly, xo

  • Amy January 20, 2010  

    What a strange coincidence. My aunt picked up some smoked whitefish today when we were at a fish market. I’d never had it before. We wound up splitting the piece she’d bought over a cutting board at my place, picking the flesh from the bones like cavegirls (as I said on Twitter an hour ago or so). It was awesome.

    And she said it was $5.99 a pound. Where the heck was this place in the picture where it was $17.95?!? Then again, whitefish is a pretty common fish here in Michigan.

    So I’d highly recommend smoking a whitefish if you have the equipment. Maybe catch your own first, though. 😉

  • Tim January 21, 2010  

    I’ve always taken whitefish to be any of several kinds of fish with white flesh: cod, haddock &c. Although wikipedia tells me there are a few species of whitefish (mountain whitefish, atlantic whitefish, &c), I think the whitefish we’re talking about is probably the former – smoked cod, haddock or similar.

  • gansie January 22, 2010  

    very much looking forward to your sister’s expert advice on smoked whitefish!

    i went to so’s your mom and picked up a half pound (it’s about $8-9 / lb). i made a sandwich for today (pumpernickel toast, lettuce, onion, fish), but couldn’t resist trying a bite last night. it was a little oily, but still very rich and salty.

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  • Robert Ruleau III May 10, 2011  

    A “Whitefish” is a beautiful “cold fresh water” fish that is found world wide, especially in the Great Lakes…I’m starting a new website to sell the fresh and fresh smoked Lake Whitefish that our family has been catching since 1850 on the Bay of Green Bay (Lake Michigan).
    The new site is and should be up and running by June 1st.

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