Do you know rillettes? Traditional rillettes is a spreadable rustic paté of meat chunks gently cooked and blended with fat. Often made with goose, duck, chicken, rabbit and game meats it is also made with anchovies, tuna, or salmon. Rillettes is at the same time both common food and specialty fare — easily elevated simply by altering its presentation. For anyone who (like me) grew up prefering Cretons to ice cream, rillettes is a familiar treat that smells and tastes of an appetizer enjoyed somewhere in the French countryside. (Or during a picnic stop on a rocky beach — while kayaking along the wild shoreline of Canada’s west coast.) Wherever “wild” meets “civilized” we should expect to find “rillettes.”
Inspiration: I was first seduced by a recipe for Salmon Rillettes spotted on the blog of French Thermomix user Barbichonette. Her version uses both fresh and smoked salmon for more depth of flavour and more vibrant colour. Think about capers and dill and perhaps layering it with creamed herbed ricotta on thin toasty slices of Thermomix bread. Topped with cracked pepper… what’s not to like? Salmon Rillettes is colourful, pretty, and makes any occasion just a little more special. All this smokey/lemony/buttery goodness is wrapped up in a simple recipe that is fast, easy and well suited for new Thermomix cooks as well as long-time fans of the kitchen machine.
The flavour outcome will be as good as your best ingredients so treat yourself and buy good salmon. If you don’t have access to good quality smoked and fresh salmon, make sure at least one of the two is excellent. And because salmon can be pricey, I’ve purposely scaled down the quantity from the original recipe in order to make it more affordable. Also, less is more and when you make a special rich treat such as this, it’s always nice to leave people wanting more. This recipe makes about 500 gr (17.6 oz) of rillettes which is just enough to impress yourself and your friends and make everyone wish there some hidden in the back of the fridge for midnight snacks.
- 750 g. (26.5 oz) water
- 250 g (8.8 oz) fresh salmon, (preferably wild) cut into large pieces, bones removed (I use boneless fillet.)
- 150 g (5.3 oz) smoked salmon (sliced or in pieces)
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ lemon, juiced (about 30 g - 40 g)
- 120 g (4.2 oz) unsalted butter (make your own!)
- ¼ tsp salt (optional)
- ¼ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- optional seasonings: dill, capers
- put 750 ml (26.5 oz) water into Thermomix bowl and insert the simmering basket. Place the fresh salmon pieces into simmering basket and cook for about 10 minutes/Varoma/speed 3 -- just till salmon is cooked through. Remove the basket with salmon from the Thermomix bowl. Remove skin from salmon, and reserve this salmon to one side as you proceed with the next step.
- Place the smoked salmon, egg yolk, butter, lemon juice into Thermomix and mix for 8 seconds/speed 6.
- Using spatula, push down the ingredients to clear sides of bowl. Add the cooked fresh salmon, salt and pepper, and optional dill or capers and mix 8 seconds/speed 4.
- Press into small bowls or mold and allow to chill for minimum of two hours. Allow to warm slightly before serving with fresh lemon for those who might like it. Garnish with capers and/or fresh dill, cracked pepper.
- see Rillettes de Saumon from La Maison Barbichonette
- I found Tenina’s Recipe for Salmon Rillettes a day after preparing this version. I’m planning to try it soon, but you can try it now! See Tenina’s version, as done in the Thermomix test kitchen of Australia.
- see a David Liebovitz recipe for non-Thermomix Salmon Rillettes
- If salmon is unavailable where you live, consider using trout or smoked cod. (Kippers anyone?)