Jen and I first tried salmon rillettes at one of our favorite brunch spots in New York, Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery. We decided to make a version of it for a party we hosted — we wanted a bunch of finger foods that were easy to serve as well as easy to make and salmon rillettes fit the bill perfectly. In addition, we wanted to focus on healthiness, so we actually served the salmon spread on slices of cucumber, instead of bread or crackers (although we did use crackers for our friend who is allergic to vegetables). This way the appetizer was not only healthy, but the refreshing cucumber balanced the savory buttery spread itself.
I borrowed the recipe from David Lebovitz, so you can find his whole write up here.
- 8 ounce (250 g) piece of salmon, preferably wild, bones removed
- 5 tablespoons (75 g) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 4 ounces (125 g) smoked salmon, cut into thin strips, then cut into ½-inch (2 cm) pieces
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder or smoke paprika or a few turns of freshly-ground white pepper
Season the salmon on both sides lightly with a bit of salt. Steam in a steamer basket (I used a wok and a plate) until just cooked, about 8 minutes. Once cooked, remove from heat and let cool.
In a medium-sized bowl, mash together with a fork the butter and the olive oil until very smooth. This is very important; otherwise there will be big chunks of butter in the finished rillettes. Stir in the lemon juice, then the chopped chives and smoked salmon.
Remove the skin from the salmon and flake the cooked salmon over the mixture, then fold the pieces of salmon into the rillette mixture along with the chili powder. Season with salt, if necessary. Scrape into a serving dish, cover, and chill for at least two hours. Let come to room temperature before serving. I suggest serving on slices of cucumber.
One last note courtesy of the recipe writer: the rillettes can be made up to two days before and refrigerated. They can also be frozen, well-wrapped, for up to two months.