Salmon Rillettes

Rillettes is similar to pâté but potted and spreadable.  It's traditionally made with pork as a way of preserving the meat in fat. It’s delicious and equally wonderful with game birds, rabbit and in a lighter version using fish. I’ve been making this recipe since my days studying cooking in France. It never gets old!

  • 2 cups white wine or light vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 pound fresh salmon fillet, wild caught preferred                                    
  • 6 ounces good quality smoked salmon                                                           
  • 2 Tbls. minced chives                                                                                       
  • Pinch of fresh grated nutmeg                                                                            
  • 12 Tbls. plus 2 Tbls. unsalted butter, European preferred (see below), room temperature                                                                                                                     3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)                                                             
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

In a shallow pan, bring the wine or broth and shallots to a simmer. Once the shallots are cooked, add the salmon and gently simmer until it is barely opaque, 5-6 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the salmon to cool in the liquid. Remove the salmon from the wine and drain it on paper towel. Strain the liquid, reserving the shallots and liquid.

In the same pan, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter and add the 2 tablespoons of reserved both or wine and the smoked salmon. Cook very gently until no longer transparent, about 3 minutes. Leave it to cool.

Once the fresh Salmon is cool, remove the skin and break the salmon into pieces and remove all of the bones. Shred the fresh and smoked salmon with a fork and set aside.

In a bowl, cream the butter with a wooden spoon or with a hand mixer until creamy and light. Don’t overdo it. Stir in the two salmons, chives, reserved shallots, and pinch of nutmeg. Season with salt and white pepper. Season with lemon if you’d like. I prefer not to.

Pack into a crock and chill to blend flavors for at least two hours. Bring to room temp and serve with toasted baguette slices or on Belgian endive.

You can also:

  • Cut the recipe in half                      
  • Use European Style Cultured Butter by Kerrygold or Organic Valley for example. It’s worth the price for this dish which relies on the butter for added flavor and texture. The cultured butter adds a nice tang.
  • Add fresh lemon juice to taste
  • Add 1/4 tsp. smoke paprika such as pimente d'Espelette
  • Serve with vegetables
  • Scoop small spoonfuls into Belgian endive
  • Garnish with caviar
  • Freeze it, wrapped well