Salmon Rillettes (French spread recipe) 

5 of 21 votes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
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Bowl of salmon rillettes with baguette slices

I love serving these salmon rillettes as a starter or as an appetizer on toast. This recipe is super easy, delicious and rich in flavor.

These salmon rillettes recipe can be prepared in less than 20 minutes, or in advance if you prefer. Lighter than traditional pork rillettes, these salmon rillettes are an elegant spread, ideal to serve for dinner parties.

Try this green olive tapenade and these oeufs cocotte (French baked eggs) for more starter ideas. I would also recommend trying this aromatic French onion soup or mushroom bourguignon, which make a wonderful French first course.

List of Ingredients

  • Fresh salmon: Opt for high-quality fresh skinless salmon fillet for salmon rillettes.
  • Smoked salmon: Smoked salmon adds a delightful smoky flavor to the rillettes.
  • Cream cheese: I like to use cream cheese for a creamy texture. But you can also make these rillettes with crème fraîche, sour cream or Greek yogurt. You can also combine these alternatives (50 % Greek yoghurt and 50 % crème fraîche is a great combination too). 
  • Dill: Fresh dill adds a key herby taste in rillettes.
  • Parsley: I like to use curly parsley, easier to chop in small pieces. Flat parsley is fine too.
  • Lemon: Lemon is a great balance to the richness the salmon. I prefer freshly squeezed lemon juice rather than bottled. Lime juice is a fine alternative. Keep a little lemon zest aside as a pretty garnish. 
  • Shallot: I use a shallot to poach the salmon. Shallots are milder and sweeter than onions, better to pair with the delicate flavors of the salmon.
  • Dry white wine: Choose a wine you enjoy drinking, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. You only need a small glass to poach the salmon.

You can find the exact quantities in the recipe card.

Salmon rillettes on a slice of baguette

How to Make Salmon Rillettes ?

  1. Poach the fresh salmon. Combine wine, water, 2 sprigs of dill, and sliced shallot in a skillet. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Place the fresh salmon fillet in the center of the skillet, cover it with a lid, and let it cook (poach) on medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove the poached salmon from the poaching liquid with a slotted spoon. Dry them gently on a paper towel if needed.
  2. Chop. Use a fork to flake the cooked salmon into small pieces. Chop the smoked salmon into small bits. Finely chop the dill and parsley.
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients. Combine the flaked salmon, smoked salmon, cream cheese, dill, parsley, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Mash with a fork, mixing until you obtain a spreadable consistency. You can use food processor. However, I like to leave a few large chunks of salmon. Season with salt and pepper. If you like, sprinkle lemon zest and fresh herbs on top of the rillettes.
  4. Store. If you need to store the spread before serving, cover it with plastic wrap and pop it into the fridge until ready.

What To Serve With Salmon Rillettes ?

Here’s what I recommend you serve with your salmon rillettes:

  • Toasted baguette slices: As a French girl, I love to serve crispy, toasted baguette slices or crostini alongside salmon rillettes. The crunchy texture of the bread complements the smoothness of the rillettes.
  • Crackers: Choose a variety of high-quality crackers with different flavors and textures, such as whole wheat, rosemary, or black pepper. 
  • Veggies: For a healthier version, service these salmon rillettes in small cucumber boats (see picture below) or in small endive leaves.
  • Pickles and cornichons: Serve with cornichons(pickles) or red onion pickles on the side to provide a contrasting tangy and acidic flavor. 
  • Mixed greens: If you want to create a more substantial meal, or as a first course, serve salmon rillettes on a bed of mixed greens, such as arugula or watercress with vinaigrette
Cucumber boats with salmon rillettes

FAQ: Salmon Rillettes

What is rillettes in French?

In French cuisine, rillettes refer to a preparation method where meat, typically pork or poultry (try the famous duck rillettes!), is slowly cooked in its own fat until it becomes tender and easily shredded. The term rillettes comes from the French word “rille,” which means to shred or pull apart. Salmon rillettes are a variation of this traditional French preparation, using salmon instead of pork or poultry.

Can I make salmon rillettes ahead of time?

Yes, salmon rillettes can be prepared ahead of time. Simply store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. This allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in an even more delicious spread. Just give it a quick stir before serving.

Can I use frozen salmon instead of fresh salmon?

Yes, you can use frozen salmon instead of fresh salmon for this recipe. Thaw the frozen salmon completely before poaching it, and ensure it is well-drained before flaking and mixing with the other ingredients.

Can I make these rillettes with different type of fish instead of salmon?

While salmon is traditionally used in rillettes, you can experiment with other types of fish like trout or mackerel. However, keep in mind that the flavors and textures may differ from the original recipe.

Are rillettes served cold?

Yes, rillettes are typically served chilled or at room temperature. After preparing the salmon rillettes, I recommend to refrigerate them for at least an hour to allow the flavors to develop and the spread to firm up slightly. This cooling process enhances the texture and allows the ingredients to meld together, resulting in a more enjoyable taste experience.

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Recipe Card

Print Recipe

Salmon Rillettes (French spread recipe) 

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5 of 21 votes
These delicious salmon rillettes can be prepared in just 20 minutes, or in advance if you prefer. One of my favorite dip for special occasions!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Side dish
Cuisine French
Servings 8
Calories 122 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 7 oz fresh salmon (200 g)
  • 4,5 oz smoked salmon (100 g)
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese (100 g)
  • 8 sprigs dill
  • 6 sprigs parlsey
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (125 ml)
  • 1/2 cup water (125 ml)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Instructions
 

  • In a skillet, combine wine, water, 2 sprigs of dill, and sliced shallot. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Place the fresh salmon fillet in the center of the skillet, cover with a lid, and let it cook (poach) on medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove the poached salmon from the skillet with a slotted spoon.
  • Use a fork to flake the cooked salmon into small pieces.
  • Chop the smoked salmon into small bits.
  • Finely chop the dill and parsley.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the flaked salmon, smoked salmon, cream cheese, dill, parsley, and lemon juice.
  • Mash with a fork, mixing until you obtain a spreadable consistency . However, I like to leave a few large chunks of salmon.
  • Mix the ingredients well and season with salt and pepper.

Video

Notes

If you need to store the spread before serving, cover it with plastic wrap and pop it into the fridge until ready.

Nutrition

Calories: 122kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 9gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 183mgPotassium: 209mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 233IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg
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2 Comments

  1. Hello, thank you for a wonderful recipe, I’ll definitely try it. Quick question – were you using hot smoked or cold smoked salmon for this recipe?