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Classic Salmon Rillettes Recipe: A French Delicacy

Salmon rillette, a luxurious spread with its origins in French culinary traditions, offers a delightful and textured way to enjoy the flavors of salmon. This dish takes inspiration from the concept of “rillette,” where meat is slowly cooked in its own fat until tender, shredded, and stored in some of that fat. Adapted for fish, especially salmon, this spread features a combination of fresh and cold smoked salmon, resulting in a creamy and rich delicacy that’s perfect for topping bagels or toast.


  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 (6-ounce) portion salmon
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 3 ounces cold smoked salmon, finely chopped


  1. Prepare Crostini:
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Drizzle the baguette slices with 2 ½ tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Bake the slices in the preheated oven until they turn golden brown and become crisp. Set them aside.

2. Steam the Salmon:

  • Place the salmon in a steamer basket and top with sliced lemon.
  • Steam the salmon until it’s fully cooked and flakes easily with a fork. Set it aside.

3. Cook Shallot:

  • Heat the remaining olive oil in a small pan over medium heat.
  • Sauté the minced shallot until it becomes softened and translucent.
  • Add the white wine and let it simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set it aside.

4. Mash Salmon with Butter:

  • In a large bowl, mash the butter and add the steamed salmon.
  • Strike a balance between breaking down the salmon and keeping some texture.
  • If the salmon is warm, it will help soften the butter; if it’s hot, let it cool slightly before proceeding.

5. Mix Ingredients:

  • Fold in the creme fraiche, lemon juice, minced chives, smoked salmon, and sautéed shallots.
  • Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Taste the rillette and adjust seasoning if needed.

6. Chill and Serve:

  • Transfer the salmon mixture to a container and press it down to eliminate air bubbles.
  • Seal the container tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour, up to 4 days.
  • The rillette should develop a spreadable consistency as it chills.

Nutrition Information (Per Serving):

  • Calories per Serving: 364
  • Total Fat: 21.0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 42.0 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 28.5 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.6 g
  • Total Sugars: 3.3 g
  • Sodium: 416.8 mg
  • Protein: 14.3 g

Serving Suggestion:

  • Serve the chilled salmon rillette spread on crostini for a delightful appetizer or topping.
  • Enjoy the rillette on its own, as a protein addition to salads, or even as a bagel topping.

Salmon rillette is a wonderful example of how simple ingredients can come together to create a sophisticated and flavorful dish. With a blend of fresh and smoked salmon, along with complementary ingredients, this recipe offers a taste of French elegance that’s sure to impress your guests and elevate your dining experience.

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