Delicious smoked salmon rillette: a perfect recipe

Are you a fan of seafood? Do you enjoy trying new and exciting recipes? If so, then you're in for a treat with this smoked salmon rillette recipe. Created by the renowned chef Thomas Keller, this dish is a perfect combination of rich flavors and delicate textures. Whether you're hosting a dinner party or simply looking to impress your family, this recipe is guaranteed to be a hit.

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What is Smoked Salmon Rillette?

Rillettes are a traditional French dish that originated in the countryside. They are a rustic cousin of more sophisticated dishes like galantines, terrines, and pates. Rillettes are typically made by slow-cooking meat, usually pork, in its own fat until it becomes tender and easily spreadable. However, this recipe gives a unique twist to the classic by using smoked salmon instead.

The smoked salmon rillette is made by blending fresh salmon and butter with hot-smoked salmon. This combination gives the spread a rich and smoky flavor that is absolutely irresistible. To seal in the freshness and add an extra layer of richness, melted butter is poured over the top, a trick learned from Chef Thomas Keller himself.


  • 1 pound center-cut, skinless and boneless wild-caught salmon fillet
  • 2 tablespoons anise-flavored liqueur, such as Pernod
  • Freshly ground pink sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1 leek, halved lengthwise
  • 1 small onion, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 cup Vinho Verde rosé
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large shallots, minced (heaping 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 1/4 pound or 8 ounces of skinless hot-smoked salmon, flaked
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
  • Clarified butter for sealing (optional)
  • Toasted baguette slices, for serving


Place the salmon fillet in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle it with anise liqueur, 1 tablespoon on each side. Season with salt and pepper, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In a large saucepan, add leek, celery, bay leaf, peppercorns, onion, wine, and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 20 minutes and add the fresh salmon to the pan. Cover and remove from heat immediately. After 10 minutes, remove the peppercorns, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove the salmon and flake it.

While the salmon is in the refrigerator, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened. Do not brown. Let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter until smooth. Whisk in the sour cream. Add the cooled shallot, along with the flaked poached and flaked hot-smoked salmon, chives, lemon juice, olive oil, and paprika. Stir until combined. Season the rillettes with salt and white pepper.

Pack the rillettes into ramekins, canning jars, or pots, leaving a half-inch of space at the top of each. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Top with melted clarified butter and seal with a lid or by pressing a sheet of plastic wrap onto the surface.

The rillettes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Serve with toasted baguette slices.

Pairing with Vinho Verde Wine

Now that you have your delicious smoked salmon rillette ready, it's time to pair it with the perfect wine. Vinho Verde wines from Portugal are an excellent choice for this dish. Vinho Verde wines are young, fresh, vibrant, and affordable. They are known for their high acidity, which makes them a perfect match for the richness of the rillette.

The Vinho Verde wine region in Portugal produces wines that transition seamlessly from season to season. They are light and crisp, with flavors of citrus and green apple. The acidity in these wines helps to cut through the richness of the rillette and cleanse the palate, making each bite even more enjoyable.

Whether you choose a white or rosé Vinho Verde wine, you can't go wrong. The white wines have a refreshing and zesty character, while the rosés offer a charming shade of raspberry with a slight fizz sensation. Both options will complement the flavors of the smoked salmon rillette and enhance your dining experience.

Smoked salmon rillette is a delightful dish that combines the richness of fresh and hot-smoked salmon with the creamy texture of butter. It's a perfect appetizer or snack for any occasion. With the addition of Vinho Verde wine, you can elevate the flavors and create a truly memorable dining experience. So why not give this recipe a try and indulge in the deliciousness of smoked salmon rillette paired with a glass of Vinho Verde wine?

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