Be warned once again that salt, not smoke, is the curative agent in cold-smoked fish. In addition to inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, the salt draws out moisture—and moisture is necessary for bacteria to thrive. How much salt and for how long depends on the size of the fish and other factors, and how long the fish is to be preserved. As a rule, the more salt, the drier the fish and the longer its shelf life. In modern times, the trend has been toward less and less salt combined with refrigerated storage, and this chapter tends to reflect this change. (If you want completely cured smoked fish, begin with a hard salt cure as described in Chapter 2 and cold-smoke the fish in the smokehouse for a week or longer.) The trouble with a light cure–light smoke approach is that the practitioner has no hard and fast rules to follow. In any case, I can only hope that I can shed enough light on the subject to keep the novice from proceeding in the dark.