19 December 2011

Salmon Rillettes

Tis the festive season, my parents arrived last week and the next few weeks are filled with dinners, BBQs, and not to mention Christmas and New Year, or Hogmanay as have in Scotland.  This weekend was to be the first of the BBQs.  A lazy Sunday afternoon on the deck, a few vinos under blue skies, a little sunshine and delicious aromas wafting from the BBQ.  The Auckland weather, however, had other ideas so a lazy Sunday BBQ became more of an indoor Sunday roast as the weather most certainly wasn't going to spoil an afternoon with friends and family. So the outdoors came indoors, and with a little manoeuvring* one of the outdoor tables came indoors and was dried off with the hairdryer.

I have made these salmon rillettes from Around My French Table quite a few times now and they are a firm favourite, as are most of the recipes I have tried from that book.  It is definitely one of my favourite cookbook purchases of 2011** Light and infused with chilli, lemon and bay they are quite delicious piled on top of some crusty white bread.

*Furniture moving is not our strong suit, memories of an old sofa getting stuck in the communal hall way in my London flat led to the use of a saw! Today only 3 attempts required, through the french doors and kitchen door, then the front door and finally made it through french doors and via my bedroom.

**For more cookbook purchasing inspiration check out David Lebovitz's picks here...perfect for Christmas gifts and there are certainly a few that will be being added to my 'must have' list...because of course I need more cookbooks....!

Salmon Rillettes, from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table


1 lemon
1 red chilli
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
5 white peppercorns
5 coriander seeds
2 small spring onions, trimmed, finely chopped, long green tops reserved, or 1 shallot finely chopped, rinsed, and patted dry
1/2 pound salmon fillet, cut in to small (1cm) cubes
150g smoked salmon, cut in to small (1/2cm) dice
White pepper
3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed

Bread, crackers or toast for serving

With a vegetable peeler, remove a strip of zest from the lemon and toss it in to a medium saucepan.  Finely grate the rest of the zest and set it and the lemon aside. Cut a small sliver of chilli, without the seeds or membrane, and toss it in to the saucepan with the lemon zest.  Seed and finely chop the rest of the chilli and set it aside.

Pour the wine and water in to the saucepan and add the bay leaf, peppercorns, coriander, onion tops if you are using spring onions, and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, and bring to a boil over a medium heat.  Lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes to allow all the flavours to infuse.

Add the fresh salmon to the pan, cover and poach for just 1 minute.  Strain and place the salmon in a medium sized bowl.  Throw away the  herbs, spices and vegetables.

With the back of a fork lightly mash the poached salmon.  Add the smoked salmon, zest, chilli and chopped onion or shallot to the poached salmon, season with salt and pepper and mix everything together.  Add the butter and use the fork to stir and mash it until you have a thick spread.  Squeeze about half the lemon’s juice in to the bowl and stir it in.  Season again with salt and pepper.  Taste and add more lemon juice if you like and finally stir in the pink peppercorns.  Pack the rillettes in to a jar or bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface.  Chill for at least 2 hours as the rillettes should be firm.

Pile atop some crusty bread and dig in and chilled glass of white on the side along with some good company and you do indeed have a perfect Sunday afternoon.

The cutest, tiniest little vases

If you like this you might like this Lemon and Tahini Salmon Salad
One year ago - Lemon and Ricotta Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.



  1. I hate it when friends or family come over and the weather doesn't play ball - hope it gets sunny for you all soon. This sounds look a good recipe to try and I must go and check out those cookbooks, they're very addictive!

  2. I see you have Dad working already :0) my parents arrive in Feb but we have more of a whole bathroom in mind for him to do!

  3. Classic table drying technique! I had wondered what he was doing in that pic when you posted on fb :-) Merry Christmas Mairi, hope you have a good one xx

  4. Howdy! I just want to give a huge thumbs up for the nice information you will have here on this post. I will be coming again to your weblog for more soon.

  5. This looks like a great, "easy entertaining" recipe, and I love just about anything with salmon in it. I've had that Dorie Greenspan book on my wish list for ages - might have to do something about that!

    Hope you're having a lovely time with your family.

    Sue xo

  6. I've made this salmon rilettes a couple of times and love it! I agree, Around My French Table is one of my top favorite cookbook purchases of 2011. I look forward to what we discover in it in 2012! I hope you had a happy Christmas and lovely visit with your parents.


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