Salmon Rillettes Recipe
Rillettes aux Duex Saumons

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This Salmon Rillettes recipe is a perfect do-ahead appetizer to serve before dinner.
This recipe is by Thomas Keller and his cookbook, Bouchon. Photos taken at the Bouchon Restaurant in Yountville, CA.

This outstanding French Salmon Rillettes recipe and dinner menu was generously shared with my by Linda Sandberg of Newberg, OR. Linda belongs to a Gourmet Dinner Group that delights in making wonderful foods that they share together. Check out French Bistro Dining which includes this recipe.

Salmon Rillettes

More delicious Appetizer Recipes and Seafood Appetizers for more great entertaining ideas.

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Salmon Rillettes - Rillettes aux Duex Saumons:

Recipe Type: Salmon, Seafood, Appetizer, Spreads, Pates and Terrines
Cuisine: French
Yields: 10 to 12 servings
Prep time: 30 min


1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skin and pin bones removed
2 tablespoons Pernod (absinthe, cognac, brandy, or whiskey may be substituted), optional
Coarse or sea salt and freshly-ground white pepper
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and divided
1/2 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon crème fraiche
1/2 pound un-sliced smoked salmon, chilled (skin and dark layer removed if necessary, and cut into 1/4-inch dice (bring back to room temperature)
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup minced chives


Trim and discard any dark flesh from the salmon fillet. Place the salmon fillet in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle each side with 1 tablespoon Pernod, 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes, turning the fish over halfway through the marinating time.

Bring some water (just enough to cover the salmon) to a simmer in the bottom of a poacher/steamer.*

* A fish poacher/steamer is typically used to cook fish in an oven or on a stove. Poaching is a technique that cooks food delicately and evenly in a barely simmering liquid

Remove the salmon from the marinade and place in the steamer, cover with the lid. Gently steam for approximately 5 to 8 minutes. If you see steam pouring out the sides of the steamer, lower the heat. Check the salmon by separating the flesh with the tip of a knife and looking at the center. The center should be medium-rare. When the salmon is cooked, remove from the steamer to a large bowl.

While the salmon is steaming, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium sauté or frying pan over low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and continue to cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes or until the shallot have softened, but not browned. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, place 7 tablespoons butter. Beat with a rubber spatula until the butter is smooth and look somewhat like mayonnaise in consistency. Stir in the creme fraiche and set aside.

Break up the cooked salmon into large chunks (checking for and removing any small bones). Because you will be stirring in the remaining ingredients, you don't want to break up the pieces too much. Stir in the smoked salmon pieces, shallots, lemon juice, olive oil, and egg yolks. Season assertively with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, since this dish will be served cold. Fold in the prepared butter/creme fraiche mixture.

Salmon RillettesTransfer the salmon rillette to two (2) ceramic ramekins, glass serving bowls, or large terrine, leaving at least 1/2-inch of space at the top. Smooth the top of the rillettes and wipe the inside rims clean. Refrigerator for approximately 1 hour or until cold.  Pour an 1/4-inch thick layer of clarified butter over the top of the rillettes to seal. Learn how to make Clarified Butter.

Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or as long as overnight.

Serve at room temperature for maximum smoothness. If it is cold, the butter will be hard and it won’t spread well.

To serve, break through the butter layer and remove it. Spread the Salmon Rillettes on toasted baguette bread slices or crackers. NOTE: Once the butter is removed, the Salmon Rillettes must be used within two (2 )days.

Storage: The Salmon Rillettes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Pack into a crock and press a sheet of plastic wrap onto the surface. They can also be frozen, well-wrapped, for up to two months.

Makes approximately 10 to 12 servings (about 3 1/4 cups).


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