A Smokin’ Family Story
Founded in 1934 in Springfield, Massachusetts, The Springfield Smoked Fish Company produces more than three dozen fish products, including spreads and salads, using treasured recipes that its founders brought from Eastern Europe. The company has been operated by the Axler family for three generations, and has recently expanded to nationwide distribution. Alan Axler's grandparents, who came to America from Russia and Poland, actually learned how to smoke fish in Europe. All of their products are kosher certified by the OU.
The company takes pride in their artisanal fish and heirloom recipes. Under Alan Axler, vice president, the fish is still smoked in small antique block ovens – more as an “art–form than a science”. Smoking is done in small batches over real wood fires. Axler’s recipes call for limited use of preservatives, the use of “real” ingredients (real smoke not liquid smoke) and processed to leave a minimum impact on the environment. Their products are varied including herring, trout, sable, lox, nova and more.
We sampled the nova, which is the company’s best selling product. To produce nova, Axler’s uses only King Salmon from the Pacific Northwest or farmed salmon from the Atlantic. An exceptional treat! How delicious it was on our sesame bagel topped with whipped cream cheese and a fresh tomato.
For Axler’s nova, the salmon are hand split, filleted and trimmed, cured for five days, cold smoked for 10–12 hours, then hand sliced; the resulting flavor is less salty and more subtle than lox. However, according to Axler’s, the term lox has become generic and most people will ask for lox when what they really want is nova. Also used generically is the term “smoked salmon”, which commonly refers to any salmon which is smoked regardless of process.
Traditionally, the word lox refers to salmon, which has been cured in very salty brine. Sometimes lox is called belly lox, and is actually not smoked at all. Nova or nova lox on the other hand, gets a milder salt cure and light smoking. Part of its milder taste comes from the addition of brown sugar to the brine.
And then there was Axler’s white fish salad – a luscious creamy mix of flaky smoked whitefish, mayonnaise and special spices. Excellent!
Have you always wondered what types of kosher smoked fish are available? Visit the Springfield website to see the varied selection which include trout, salmon, whiting, bluefish, tuna and more.
After 66 years, the Axler family has gone virtual. Fish from Springfield Smoked Fish Company can now be ordered online, making their quality fresh smoked fish products available anywhere in the U.S. Now that’s a smokin’ true BIG fish story!
For additional product information or to order, please visit SpringFieldsSmokedFish.com.