Recipe: Salmon Rillettes

Recipe: Salmon Rillettes

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Sarah Copeland
Nov 1, 2016
(Image credit: Tara Donne)

If you don't know what salmon rillettes are, you're missing out. Creamy but light, flavorful without being overpowering, think of it as salmon's answer to pate. It's a spread that's sure to impress and it's deceptively simple to make.

This version comes from Talbott & Arding, an upscale larder in Hudson, New York. Named after its proprietors Mona Talbott and Kate Arding, this is a place you could easily get lost in: Heavenly baked goods, local cheeses, all manner of pickled things, and a refrigerator stocked with miniature pots of decadent goodies like this one.

How To Make Salmon Rillettes: Watch the Video

A tribute to both the Catskills, which has a long tradition of angling clubs and smokehouses, which preserve local catch to last the long winters, and the English and French traditions of potted fishes and meats, it's perfect for a picnic lunch on a mountaintop hike, or as a holiday first course, served with crackers and chablis.

The recipe calls for two different types of smoked salmon: cold smoked salmon, which is cured (think lox and bagels) and hot smoked salmon, which is smoked and flaked. You can find both versions at specialty grocery stores, fish markets, and even Costco!

(Image credit: Tara Donne)

Salmon Rillettes

Makes 2 1/2 packed cups (about 1 1/4 pounds); serves 6 to 8

12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
7 tablespoons minced shallot
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces prepared horseradish (about 5 tablespoons)
6 ounces (cold) smoked salmon or lox
6 ounces hot smoked salmon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Crackers, pickles, or crusty baguette, for serving

Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter in a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Stir in the shallots, cover the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until completely cooked and tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cool completely, then stir in the horseradish.

Meanwhile, finely chop the cold and hot smoked salmon and place in a medium bowl. Add the remaining 6 tablespoons butter and mix well to combine. Add the shallot-butter mixture, stir to combine, and taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Just before serving, stir in the chopped parsley. Serve at room temperature with crackers and pickles, or over a crusty baguette.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Let sit at room temperature 20 minutes before serving.

Recipes from the Road are recipes gathered from our travels near and far. When you're there, when you come home, a recipe is always the best souvenir. This month we're visiting the Catskills; see our full Bite-Sized Guide here, including two more recipes.

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