Rillettes of Salmon

Andy Anderson !


Okay, it's the big day... Thanksgiving (or fill in your own favorite holiday), and the turkey's in the oven cooking away. It's two hours before dinner, and your guests are beginning to get hungry. What do you do?

Well, obviously, we're talking about appetizers... Something to keep the natives happy until dinner arrives at the table.

Appetizers are a tricky thing. If you make too many, your guests will fill up, and then not really appreciate all the hard work you've been doing in the kitchen.

Rillettes of Salmon is an excellent way to ward off those premature hunger pains.


★★★★★ 2 votes

30 Min
10 Min
Stove Top


  • 1 c
  • 3 Tbsp
    lemon juice, freshly squeezed, divided
  • 1 Tbsp
    dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp
    olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 tsp
    worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp
    hot sauce (franks, if you have any)
  • 1 1/2 tsp
    capers, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp
    caper juice
  • 1 tsp
    sea salt, divided
  • 1 tsp
    black pepper, freshly ground, divided
  • 3 Tbsp
    fresh chives, chopped
  • 10 oz
    salmon filet, ocean caught, with a thickness of about 3/4 of an inch
  • 1 cup c
    water, cold
  • 2 oz
    smoked salmon, diced
  • ·
    lemon zest, for the garnish

How to Make Rillettes of Salmon


  1. It's the holidays, and it's time for cooking...

    In a large non-reactive bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, dijon mustard, olive oil, worcestershire, hot pepper sauce, capers, caper juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

    Chef's Note: Non-reactive would be something like glass, or stainless steel.
  2. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of chives and then taste for seasoning.

    Cover the bowl, and refrigerate until needed.

    Make Ahead Tip: If you're got a lot to do, this will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
  3. Chef's Note: Let me be picky here... Ocean caught salmon is so much better than farm raised for too many reason to mention here. If you can, get ocean-fresh salmon.

    Chef's Note: Remember that fresh ocean fish should not smell fishy, it should smell salty, like the ocean. If your salmon smells fishy... move on to another fishmonger.

    Pikes Market offers some of the freshest fish in the Seattle area... and they even throw the fish at you !!!
  4. Place the salmon on a plate, remove any pin bones, and season well (on both sides) with the remaining salt and pepper.

    Let rest for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the water and remaining lemon juice to a skillet, and bring the liquid up to a light boil.

    The liquid in the pan should be about 3/4 inches deep.

    Chef's Note: If you have any spare dill springs, or a couple of peppercorns, you'll want throw them into the poaching liquid.
  6. Put the salmon in skillet, and bring the water to a slow simmer.

    Tightly cover the pan, and poach the salmon until medium rare, 5 to 6 minutes.

    Remove the salmon to a plate and place it in the refrigerator to cool.

    Discard the poaching liquid.
  7. When the salmon is cool, about 30 minutes, check for any missed pin bones, and then crumble the poached salmon and the smoked salmon into the sauce mixture made in steps 1 & 2.

    Lightly mix until incorporated.
  8. Plate/Present
    Place in a decorative serving bowl, and garnish with the lemon zest, and the remaining tablespoon of chives.

    Allow to cool in the refrigerator for about 1 hour before setting out to serve.
  9. I like to serve this in one of two ways:

    1. Place the bowl of Rillettes of Salmon on a side board along with some toast triangles, or toasted pieces of crostini.

    2. Prepare a batch of pate brisee, and when out of the oven, cut into festive holiday shapes with some cookie cutters. Then place a dollop of the Rillettes of Salmon on top, and garnish with a sprig of dill, or thinly sliced red bell pepper.

Printable Recipe Card

About Rillettes of Salmon

Course/Dish: Dips Seafood Appetizers
Main Ingredient: Fish
Regional Style: Italian

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