This Salmon Rillettes spread is a totally delicious mixture of poached salmon, peppery smoked salmon, a lot of spiciness, and a little butter.
This is the perfect first course for the Feast of the Seven Fishes.
It's an Italian American Christmas Eve meal that takes the Catholic "fish on Fridays" to another level. Southern Italian immigrants brought the tradition of having a fish feast on Christmas Eve to the United States. Here it became the Feast of the Seven (at least) Fishes. You can read more about the tradition here.
I think it would be so cool to recreate this feast on Christmas Eve!
Along with our hosts, Heather from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen and Lora from Savoring Italy, some bloggers have gotten together to share menu ideas for your Seven Fishes feast. Along with the traditional seven fish and seafood dishes, we've included some side dishes, a palate cleanser, a dessert, and a cocktail.
My contribution is the appetizer, salmon rillettes.
Rillettes spread was originally a French appetizer of meat, usually pork, cooked in fat and then shredded and chilled into a spread. It can be made from meat, poultry, rabbit, or fish. In this case, the method was applied to salmon by adding butter to the mixture. The rillettes spread is usually served with bread, bruschetta, crostini, crackers, or toast points. It is definitely an elegant addition to a cocktail party, and definitely perfect for the first course of The Feast of the Seven Fishes.
Salmon rillettes include both poached salmon and smoked salmon along with the butter. It is traditionally packed into a canning jar, but any small serving dish will do.
I pretty much had this spread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for about 3 days, and never got tired of it. This will definitely be one of my "go-to" appetizer recipes from now on. The combination of the salmons, the veggies, spices, and aromatics is amazing. So elegant with baguette slices.
I poached the salmon in Italian vermouth flavored with chili peppers, bay leaf, peppercorns, coriander, and green onions. For the smoked salmon, I used black pepper coho smoked salmon. I minced a large shallot and a half of a jalpeno and added it to the mixture. So good.
After the recipe, you'll find the rest of the recipes for an amazing Feast of the Seven Fishes.
Salmon Rillettes Recipe
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
1/2 cup vermouth
1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced in half, one half minced
5 to 10 white peppercorns
5 to 10 coriander seeds
2 to 3 green onions, cut into 3 inch slices
1/2 pound salmon fillet, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
6 ounces smoked salmon (I used peppered coho smoked salmon)
3 tablespoons unsalted and softened butter
Salt and pepper
1 large shallot, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed
1/2 tsp crushed red peppers
- With a vegetable peeler, cut off a strip of the peel of the lemon.
- Finely zest the rest of the lemon and set the zest aside. Set the lemon aside.
- Place the unchopped half of the jalapeno into a small saucepan. Add the vermouth, water, bay leaf, peppercorns, and coriander seeds.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Add the green onions and fresh salmon cubes. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for three to five minutes.
- Drain in a colander. Discard the vegetables and place the salmon in a medium bowl.
- Mash the salmon roughly with a fork.
- Add the smoked salmon and mash with a fork.
- Add the butter and blend with a fork.
- Add some of the juice from the lemon, the lemon zest, along with some salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the shallots, minced jalapeno, crushed pink peppercorns, and crushed red pepper. Mix thoroughly.
- Stir in more lemon juice, to taste.
- Pack the mixture into a canning jar or other container. Press the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to a day before serving for the first time. The rillettes will last up to 3 or 4 days.
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