salmon rillettes {ffwd}

Salmon Rillettes

Over the past year or so, I’ve grown to love rillettes as a pre-dinner appetizer or part of a picnic lunch. What are rillettes? It’s the French word for a pâté-like paste traditionally made from pork. I tried my hand at pork rillettes over the winter. In Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table, she offers three different versions of rillettes made with fish. Previously, we’ve made rillettes with sardines and tuna. This week, salmon was on deck.

Poached Salmon

Salmon rillettes is the most colorful of the trio. It’s yet another recipe I’d describe with the word “confetti”. The pale coral of fresh salmon provides the base for flecks of deep coral from smoked salmon, red from a chile pepper, light purple from shallot, a sprinkling of yellow from lemon zest, and a flash of fuchsia from pink peppercorns. The preparation was simple. Small chunks of salmon are barely poached in diluted wine with some lemon peel, a sliver of the chile pepper, and some coriander seed and white peppercorns thrown in the pot. The salmon is then mashed with the other ingredients along with softened butter and lemon juice before packing it into a ramekin to firm up for spreading.

Confetti of Color

Confetti of Color

This spread is quite versatile. I enjoyed salmon rillettes spread on crackers for a light lunch. Tonight, we’ll enjoy it again as an appetizer. If there’s anything leftover, it will be part of the picnic lunch I’ve planned for tomorrow.


I did find that the smoked salmon overpowered the poached salmon both in flavor and texture. Next time I make this, I would adjust the proportions by doubling the fresh salmon and halving the smoked so the fresh fish could shine.

Mise en Place

Mise en Place

To see what the other Doristas thought of salmon rillettes, you can check out their links here. The recipe is, of course, in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table, or you can find it on-line here.


Posted on 6 June 2014, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. DEFINITELY the prettiest of the three rillettes!

  2. Glad you liked this one – I enjoyed your description of all the colours. My fave was the sardines rillettes.

  3. This was my favorite of the three rillettes! I happen to be a big fan of salmon…I see this one being a “go to” in the future!
    Glad you liked it! Enjoy your weekend, Betsy!

  4. I hadn’t thought of the confetti appearance but you are absolutely right. I also thought this was the prettiest of the three rillettes we made. It also was my favorite, without question, and I will make it again. You’re very astute about the smoked salmon overpowering the poached salmon. I felt this was the “fishiest” of the three rillettes with a very strong flavor. But what it’s really about is the smoked salmon overpowering the lovely poached salmon. I actually threw in an extra ounce and a-half of smoked salmon to finish the package. Will check in with you to catch up later this week-end. Still enjoying “Americanah”?

  5. Betsy, your Salmon Rillettes have a wonderful color – love the very pretty presentation! And your very colorful description! And I am relieved that I am not the only one raving about this recipe – “salmon rillettes on crackers for a light lunch” does sound quite appealing right now – I will have to make that recipe again as, unfortunately, there are no leftovers in the fridge.
    Have a great weekend!

  6. Now that you mention it, I think I accidentally doubled the fresh salmon. I didn’t even look at the weight, b/c I could only get a frozen pack with 2 cuts of fish. I couldn’t defrost one without the other, so I used both. Maybe that’s why I was so happy with how subtle the smoked salmon flavor was.

  7. Do you buy red chile peppers in your regular grocery store? I’ve never managed to find one. I agree about the smoked salmon being a little over-powering. Good ideas to switch the proportions next time.

  8. Oh my confetti on toast! Three cheers. I liked the ration of salmons, flavor was more my issue… but we all need to tweek to our tastes… glad you enjoyed this overall.

  9. I actually went by my own regards the portion, but stayed 95% true to the recipe and method! You got pretty edible confetti there!

  10. I liked your description of the rillettes and agree this is the most attractive of the group :-)

  11. Nice description of the rillettes! I brought my ingredients over to my parents’ place and made it for them, but I left the chile pepper in the fridge at home, unfortunately. So, I poached the salmon with dried chiles instead. It worked well, but I missed the colour of the fresh chiles in the finished dish. Yours looks beautiful.

  12. I love rillettes too. Great suggestion to halve the smoked salmon.

  1. Pingback: Salmon Rillettes | Cafe Mom Eats

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