Monday, June 17, 2013

Salmon Rillette

Inspired by something I saw on Food Network "Best thing I ever ate" segment. After seeing how it was described, I had to try it.
Salmon Rillettes on toasted Focaccia slices

A rillette is actually cooked meat in seasoned fat, which is then shredded to a consistency that is spreadable and almost paste-like. It is a very traditional method of preserving meats.

My resulting attempt was a creamy, rich, chunky and savory spread. Works great as a starter or appetizer. (Which is what we didn't do. We liked it so much, we ate it as a meal) I don't think mine is anywhere near Chef Keller's standard but it was enjoyable nonetheless. We had it with leftover Focaccia I baked the other time.

About 200-300 grams fresh salmon fillet
About 200 grams smoked salmon - cut into chunks
Salt and pepper
230 grams unsalted butter- softened at room temperature (1 pack)
1/2 cup shallots - finely chopped or minced
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chives - finely chopped (about 1 pack would do)


1. Season the fresh salmon fillet with salt and pepper. Steam till medium rare. About 10 mins.

2. While the salmon is cooking, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium frying pan over low heat. Add the shallots into the pan, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the shallots are softened but not browned. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. When the steamed salmon is cooked to a medium rare, remove from the steamer at set it on a plate. (Gently remove the skin if you bought it with skin on)

4. When the steamed salmon is cool enough to handle, gently break into large chunks. Once done, combine with the smoked salmon. Have the smoked and fresh salmon in similar sized chunks if you can. Set aside.

5.  Put about 150 grams of butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with a spatula until it feels identical to mayonnaise in consistency. Set aside.

6. In the mixing bowl with the butter, add in the shallots, lemon juice, olive oil, egg yolks and chives (you can reserve some chives for garnish if you like). Season with salt and pepper. (since this will be served cold, should be seasoned more generously). Fold all the ingredients together, mixing well.

Note: for this step, I like to add the lemon juice gradually, tasting as I go, as I am not really into acidic foods. I ended up using about 3/4 of the juice from 1 lemon.

7. Add in the salmon flesh into the butter mixture and mix gently. Be careful not to mash the salmon flesh too much.You want small chunks for the texture.

8. Spoon the rillettes to 2 -3 serving bowls or broad jars. Leaving at least 2-3 cm of space at the top. Smooth the top of the rillettes and wipe the inside rims clean. Gently melt the rest of the butter and pour over the top of the rillettes. There should be at least half a cm of butter above the rillettes. (The butter acts as an airtight seal, which is a old method of food preservation)

9. Cover the bowls/jars. Recommended to store overnight before consumption. These keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. Once the butter is removed, consume within 2 days.

To serve, break through the butter layer, remove it and set it aside. (you can spread the butter on the bread as well) Spread the rillettes on crusty bread or crackers and sprinkle with chives.

Hope you tried other rillettes? Leave a comment!
Have fun cooking!

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