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Salmon Rillettes Will Never Go Out of Style

Salmon Rillettes

Potted Foods have nothing to do with the current rage for cannabis cuisine. If that’s what you want Google has sent you astray. The potted food I’m featuring is the type of dish that’s composed of meat, fat and seasonings served in the same ceramic or glass “pot” it was cured in. Of these, rillettes is a classic example. Traditionally rillettes is cooked meat cured in its own fat until unbelievably luscious. However, when it comes to Salmon Rillettes it becomes necessary to introduce some foreign fat. Salmon, though fatty for fish, simply doesn’t carry enough of its own fat. In this recipe, butter and egg yolk pair up to get the job done.

The process may be different but the results are the same: moist, succulent, flavorful.

Potted foods are a great way to start a meal with friends. They’re served communally, right from the container they were stored in. Meaning they’re easy to bring to the table and provide immediate social interaction. And by “social interaction” I mean sharing. There’s simply no better spirit with which to begin a meal than by sharing.

So why aren’t potted foods like Salmon Rillettes more popular in North American kitchens? They’re simple to make and can be prepared days ahead of the party. They’re both rustic and elegant so they feel appropriate for any occasion. Well, my theory is this. Salmon Rillettes and similar confit-style dishes were originally methods to store leftover food without refrigeration. Once mid-century refrigerators became the norm culinary methods of preservation began to fall out of fashion. However, the modern-day conveniences of a Frigidaire and Saran Wrap are not good enough reasons to abandon the traditions or techniques that brought us these dishes. Because the truth is– moist, succulent, and flavorful should never go out of style. GREG

Salmon Rillettes: Moist, Succulent and FlavorfulSalmon Rillettes: Moist, Succulent and Flavorful v

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

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

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.

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