Rillettes of Salmon

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 20 min
  • Cook: 10 min
  • Yield: 2 cups (about 4 to 6 servings)
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1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Dash extra-virgin olive oil

Dash Worcestershire sauce

Dash hot pepper sauce (recommended: Tabasco)

1 1/2 teaspoons capers, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons caper juice (liquid from a jar of capers)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons fresh chives, minced

8 ounces salmon fillet, skinless, about 3/4 inch thick

1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup cold water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into strips about 1-inch long and 1/4-inch wide

Lemon zest, julienned, for garnish


  1. In a bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, olive oil, Worcestershire, hot pepper sauce, capers, caper juice, salt, and black pepper. Whisk in 2 tablespoons chives and taste for seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Will keep for 2 to 3 days refrigerated. Makes about 1 cup.
  2. Preheat an 8-inch skillet over high heat. Add the water and lemon juice, the liquid should be about 3/4 inches deep. Generously season the salmon fillet on both sides with salt and pepper. Put the salmon in skillet, and bring the water to a simmer (about 180 degrees). Reduce the heat to very low, tightly cover the pan, and poach the salmon until medium rare, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the salmon to a plate and place it in the refrigerator to cool.
  3. Remove any pin bones from the salmon and break the fish up into the mayonnaise. Add the smoked salmon and fold together. Garnish with lemon zest and remaining tablespoon of chives. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator. Serve cool but not cold.
  4. Cooking Notes: For the most luscious texture, poach the salmon on your stovetop's lowest possible setting, with the water just gently steaming the fish.
  5. Wine Notes: Chardonnay is wonderful with this dish, but please ask your wine merchant for one with little or no oak, so it does not clash with the woody flavor of the smoked salmon.