As a Jewish vegetarian, I have to admit that one food has tugged at my lacto-ovo resolve: lox. It’s so tasty, and so available at so many Jewish functions. As fish, it already puts me on the moral fence, on one side doubting that a salmon’s level of consciousness is really that high and and knowing that the fish industry is a model of sustainability compared to factory farms, and on the other side knowing that the tasty, coral-colored stuff on that platter was once a salmon flitting through the water and leaping in the crisp Alaskan sunshine.
So I’ve always faced a conundrum when it came to lox… until now. The other day I discovered smoked dulse, and a smokey, savory, dilemma-free heaven opened up. Dulse is a sea vegetable (now that I see what it can do, wouldn’t dare call it a weed) that I already loved to snack on or sprinkle on popcorn. Then, it seems, some brilliant individual decided to smoke it with applewood. The smoked dulse has the same iron-packed goodness as regular sea vegetable with an added yummy flavor.
Here’s a spread I worked up that satisfies my lox tooth without the moral bite of eating fish:
Makes enough to schmear 2-4 bagels
4 oz. cream cheese or neufchatel cheese (1/2 a package), softened
Generous 1/4 c. smoked dulse, lightly rinsed and chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
Small slice of pickled beet, mashed, or a few drops beet juice for color (optional)
1/2 carrot, finely grated, for color and more substance (optional)
Capers, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, and/or thinly sliced red onion
Combine cream cheese, dulse, garlic, beet and carrot (if desired, to achieve a lox-y color). Mix well. Serve on sliced toasted bagels garnished with capers and veggies.