Salmon Rillettes


There are many salmon recipes on this blog, because of all fish varieties, salmon is my favorite. It’s such a versatile protein – one that goes beyond basic grilling, poaching, or smoking.

A while back I had a dilemma facing me with two leftover salmon filets. And this is how my salmon rillettes recipe was created.

Salmon Rillettes
Makes about 24 ounces of rillettes

1 or 2 salmon filets, approximately 12 ounces total, pin bones removed
4 tablespoons butter, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces soft goat cheese, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
4 ounces smoked salmon, finely chopped
Fresh chopped parsley, about 3 tablespoons

Rinse and dry the salmon filet. Bring it to room temperature if it’s not already. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the salmon by browning it on the flesh side first. The browned butter will help color the salmon.

Turn it over, lower the heat, and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the salmon is medium rare, about 6 minutes total, depending on the thickness. Turn off the heat.

While the fish is still in the skillet remove the skin and discard. Using a spatula, chop up the salmon coarsely. Let cool slightly.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cream cheese, goat cheese, and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Season with salt and white pepper. Beat until smooth.

Fold in the sautéed salmon, along with the butter from the skillet, as well as the smoked salmon. Try to keep some of the pieces of salmon in tact. At the last minute, add the parsley, gently “pushing” it into the salmon and cheese mixture.

Place in a jar or serving dish, and serve with bread or crackers.

These rillettes are definitely best just made, still slightly warm. If they must be refrigerated, bring them to room temperature before serving.

Rye crackers or bread are fabulous with anything salmon.

Rillettes of pork, or those made from duck or goose are almost purely meat, softly ground to make spreadable.

These salmon rillettes contain some cream cheese and goat cheese for creaminess. If you want “meatier” rillettes, cut back on the cream cheese. The important thing with rillettes is that they’re soft and spreadable.

43 thoughts on “Salmon Rillettes

  1. Mimi, this sounds wonderful. I can just see a bowl of this right in front of me with all sorts of bits and pieces to put it on. I can imagine all those flavours that I love in one bowl. All ready for me to devour. Mmmmm……

  2. Truly delectable, Mimi. Quick question… what’s the correct pronunciation of rillettes? Also, I see cornichons in your last photo and I don’t know how to say that either. I’m glad my enjoyment of food isn’t limited by my vocabulary. :) Thanks in advance!

    • Rillettes would be ree- yets. Cornichons would be harder to transcribe – maybe go to google and do an audio translation. Delectable, indeed!

  3. It’s been years since I’ve made salmon rillettes! I used Dorie’s recipe and it was a terrific lunch on crackers. We’re actually grilling a boatload of salmon for dinner tonight….and now I know what to do with the leftovers!!

  4. Salmon is a personal favourite of mine too Mimi. This salmon rillettes recipe reminds me of the trout pate I make (when I can get fresh trout from a friend who goes fishing here) although you’ve left the salmon choped up rather than blended. I love it!

    • Thanks Neil. I left the salmon more like a rillettes texture rather than a smooth paté but both are delicious!

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