A silky salmon rillettes with smoky notes that melts in your mouth. I made this for the Diner en Blanc - a pop up dinner where guests meet at a secret location to set up an all-white dinner party. The spectacle of more than three thousand people dressed in white ("no off-white, no cream, no egg shell") is a tradition started in Paris and has spread all over the world.
This rillette may sound fancy, but it's actually dead simple and doesn't require the highest quality fish. Essentially, it is a salmon spread made with poached salmon, smoked salmon and butter. I came across a small jar of this flavor bomb at Talbott & Arding Cheese and Provisions - a painfully adorable food purveyor in Hudson, Update New York. Theirs had a strong herbal note from tarragon and shallots, and is velvety smooth thanks to the high percentage of butter. After devouring the whole jar, slathered on thin bread crisps, I felt like it was time to create a healthier version for future enjoyment.
I strained some leftover yogurt to make some yogurt cheese, and used it as a replacement for most of the butter. Check out Wholesome Cook's post on how to do this. As always, use this recipe as a guide and use whatever smoked fish you have on hand, or experiment with the spices you have in your pantry.
This spread is best enjoyed at slightly softened and spread over anything thin and crispy. Bring in to you next picnic or potluck, I'm sure it will impress even the biggest devotee of chips and guac!
4oz cold smoked salmon
1 tbsp yogurt cheese, or labneh
4tbsp/75g unsalted butter, room temperature
1tbsp olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 bunches scallions, greens only
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp melted butter, for sealing
- In a deep saucepan, bring a quart of well salted water to a boil. I added some bay leaves and garlic cloves, but you can add other flavorings of your choice. Once the water boils, turn off the heat and slowly slip the fresh salmon into the water. Cover the pot and let it sit for around 15 minutes, or until the fish turns fully opaque. Remove the salmon and let it rest and cool on a sheet of paper towel.
- Meanwhile, cut up the smoked salmon into small pieces, around 1/2" squares. When the poached salmon is cool enough to handle, flake it into a large bowl with your hands. Add the smoked salmon, yogurt cheese, butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and scallions and mash with a fork. Make sure to do this gently so you end up with a rough mass, not a smooth homogenous paste. If the rillettes look dry, add more butter, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the consistency you want.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the rillettes into a clean jar and pour over the melted butter to seal. Place in the fridge for at least an hour. Take the rillettes out of the fridge around 20 minutes before serving, and enjoy with thin lavash thins, pita chips or some caraway bread crisps.