An elegant spread for your next party, these easy Salmon Rillettes hail from Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin in NYC. A combination of lightly poached fresh salmon and diced smoked salmon is the ultimate example of sophistication. Seafood lovers will flip for this starter.
I first had the pleasure of enjoying salmon rillettes during lunch at Le Bernardin in New York City. The three Michelin starred restaurant only serves this popular spread during lunch service. I’ve dined at Le Bernardin twice for lunch, and both times swooned over the salmon rillettes. It’s the perfect start before being wooed by the rest of the meal. If you ever have the opportunity to dine at Le Bernardin, I absolutely recommend it!
Although the food is the absolute star at this seafood forward New York City institution, a celebrity sighting is just as exciting. My sister and I were absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to visit the Le Bernardin kitchen and meet Eric Ripert himself. Dreams really do come true, folks!
Eric Ripert’s Salmon Rillettes recipe is available in his Avec Eric cookbook, which I happily own. Considering it comes from one of the best chefs in the world, and one of the best restaurants anywhere, this dish is so straightforward and easy to prepare! The key is to use really good ingredients and not to over dress or over season it.
How to make salmon rillettes
Begin by adding minced shallots to white wine and bring to a boil. Simmer for a couple minutes until the shallots are tender. Next add fresh salmon cubed into 1-inch pieces. Gently poach the salmon for another few minutes until just cooked through. Remove the mixture from the heat, and use a slotted spoon to strain out the salmon pieces onto a baking sheet or dish lined with a paper towel. Strain the wine and reserve the cooked shallots, and add them to the poached salmon. Cool completely before moving on (it shouldn’t take too long since everything is cut up small).
In a mixing bowl add the poached salmon and cooked shallots, diced smoked salmon, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chopped chives, salt and pepper. Make sure you don’t over dress or over mix. You want the rillettes to be lightly coated in dressing, and somewhat chunky–not a paste or puree. That’s pretty much it! It sounds so simple (and it is) but it comes together perfectly.
Serve it with toasted baguette slices. Use a good quality baguette from a local bakery, slice it thinly on the bias, very lightly brush or spray with olive oil on one side, and toast it in a 375 degree F oven for about 10 minutes just until crisp. Guests can scoop salmon rillettes onto the baguette slices to enjoy. Alternatively you could serve this as a more composed starter, by topping all the baguettes with rillettes (almost like bruschetta or canapés), but I think the serve yourself option is better.
These rillettes are a revelation. They are an excellent starter to any meal, French, seafood-based, or otherwise. Your guests will never know how easy it is to prepare (guests at Le Bernardin never guess either!). It’s a far easier way to enjoy some of the gourmet bites at one of the world’s best restaurants from the comfort of your own kitchen.
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Channel your inner Eric Ripert and make this delicious recipe for your next party! Let me know in the comments if you give it a try, and don’t forget to rate the recipe. Thanks!
- 2 cups white wine
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1 pound fresh salmon fillet cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 ounces smoked salmon diced
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
- 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
- Toasted baguette slices for serving
- Combine the white wine and shallots in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium-low heat until the shallots are tender, about 2 minutes. Add the salmon pieces and poach until they are just barely opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the salmon pieces from the wine and immediately drain them on a baking sheet lined with a paper towel. Strain the wine, reserving the shallots. Place the salmon and shallots in the refrigerator to cool completely.
- Combine the poached salmon pieces, reserved cooked shallots, smoked salmon, chives, and the mayonnaise and lemon juice in a stainless steel bowl. There should be just enough mayonnaise and lemon juice to moisten the mixture. Gently stir the mixture until thoroughly combined; the salmon will break up a little–do not over-mix or mix too hard or it will become a paste. Season the rillettes with salt and pepper. Serve cold with toasted baguette slices.
- Rillettes can be made 1 day in advance and covered and chilled until needed.
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