Smoked Salmon Rillettes

Salmon Rillettes

Salmon Rillettes, made with both fresh and smoked salmon and served with baked crostini make a great starter for a memorable meal.

Smoked Salmon Rillettes 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2 cupsSource Slightly adapted from Thomas KellerPublished

This is a large recipe, but it’s easily halved.

Salmon Rillettes


  • 1 pound center-cut wild-caught salmon (skin and pinbones removed, trimmed and dark flesh removed)
  • 2 tablespoon anise seeds
  • kosher salt and white pepper (as needed)
  • 8 tablespoon unsalted butter (divided)
  • ½ cup minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon creme fraiche
  • 8 ounce un-sliced, chilled smoked salmon
  • 2 ½ tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon very good extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped (optional )
  • clarified butter (for sealing)


Set out the butter and smoked salmon to bring them to room temperature. Cut the smoked salmon into a ¼” dice.

Place the salmon fillet in a glass baking dish and sprinkle each side with 1 tbs of anise seeds, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp white pepper. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for 1 hour, turning after 30 minutes.

Set up a pot with a steamer rack and bring the water in the bottom to a simmer. Add the salmon and steam gently until medium-rare, about 8 minutes. Alternatively, if you don’t have a steamer rack, you can poach the salmon.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tbs butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, season with ¼ tsp salt, and saute, stirring, until softened, about 4–5 minutes. Don’t allow them to brown.

In a small bowl, stir the remaining 7 tbs butter until smooth and creamy. Add creme fraiche and stir to combine. Set aside.

When the steamed salmon has cooled somewhat scrape as many of the anise seeds off as possible. It’s ok if a few cling. Chop the steamed salmon roughly. The exact texture is up to you. Traditionally rillettes are served almost as a paste. But I find I prefer salmon rillettes with a bit more texture.

In a large bowl, combine chopped steamed salmon, diced smoked salmon, sauteed shallots, lemon juice, olive oil, egg yolks, and chives. Season with salt and white pepper. Fold in the butter mixture and combine well. Again, how much mixing you choose will determine texture.

Transfer salmon mixture to ramekins, canning jars, or pots, leaving a half inch of space at the top of each. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat clarified butter over medium heat until liquid. Allow it to cool somewhat then pour a ¼‑inch or so layer of clarified butter over each pot of salmon and return to the refrigerator to solidify.

To serve to remove and discard the butter seal. Serve spread on toasted baguette, crackers, cucumber slices, or spoons.

Will keep up to one week while encased in butter. Once the butter is removed it should be consumed within a couple of days.