Rillettes are always very rich and these are for sure. I also love the pork rillettes which I now make with duck fat added to the pork stock.
Interestingly, when we make and serve these smoked salmon rillettes, my guests and cooking school attendees love them and do not question past the smoked salmon and the fresh salmon ingredients. These rillettes have equal amounts of fresh and smoked salmon which are poached and then beaten with butter for serving with fresh crusty bread, toast or biscuits.
These rillettes are equally delicious as an hors d’oeuvre and an appetiser, served in either ramekins or as quenelles; they may be served with rocket, chopped chives, capers and lemon wedges. If you wish to keep them for a day or so, smooth the surface and seal it with melted butter and store in the refrigerator.
Serves 6 as an appetiser
225g piece of skinless salmon
225g cold smoked salmon
225g softened butter
1 tbsp finely chopped eschallot
1 tbsp crème fraîche
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated nutmeg
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped tarragon – optional
To poach the salmon
125ml dry white wine
one small finely chopped eschallot
125ml water or fish stock
Place the salmon fillet in the frypan with the eschallot, cover with wine and the stock or water. Cover with baking paper and a lid or foil and simmer very gently until the salmon just flakes easily; this will take about 5 – 7 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes and remove from the pan and set it aside.
Add the smoked salmon to the pan, cover again and simmer very gently for 1 – 2 minutes, until the slices are no longer transparent. Leave it to cool in the liquid, drain and discard the liquid. Chop the eschallot and, if using, the tarragon.
Combine the two salmons in a medium sized bowl and shred with 2 forks, discarding any skin and bones. You may need to trim the brown edges from the smoked salmon. Cream the butter until it is very soft and stir in the shredded salmon, still using the fork. Be sure that the salmon is very cool as it will melt the butter. Add the finely chopped eschallot and, if using, the tarragon.
The texture of the rillettes should be rough and slightly flaky; do not over stir. Season the taste with the salt, pepper, nutmeg and lemon juice. Take care with the salt as the smoked salmon contains salt, so do not over salt.
Pack the rillettes into individual ramekins or a pottery mould and refrigerate for an hour or so before serving. If they become too firm, remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving and mix well again.