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The first time I tried rillettes was when I visited Paris in 2006 with my parents. We explored the farmers’ markets and gourmet supermarkets and bought a selection of canned rillettes and foie gras in little net bags and spread them on crusty slices of baguette for breakfast in our hotel. It tasted so rich and yet so gourmet to my Asian taste buds back then!
Fast forward to today and I’m living in a French-speaking city with no shortage of rillettes. I’ve grown to enjoy these traditional rustic spreads but unfortunately cross-contamination is always a possibility in the commercial versions. So I make my own whenever I feel like it, but it can take a bit of work and advanced planning. Then I had canned salmon one day and thought of salmon rillettes…
Good quality fresh salmon is expensive and hard to come by here. I try to limit my purchase of farmed salmon, so my go-to source for salmon is usually the canned wild variety. Recently, I decided to give canned wild Sockeye salmon a try and was impressed by the vivid colour of the salmon flesh compared to other types of canned salmon.
This was a dish I created as part of my Christmas eve dinner party contribution and served with raw vegetable slices and cassava crispbread. Bacon fat provides extra richness and smoothness to the salmon rillettes, making it hard to believe it only takes a couple of minutes to whip up. The bright colour of the salmon rillettes beckons more attractively than meat rillettes as well!
It’s also the perfect accompaniment to my upcoming recipe and I’m really excited about it! What is it? I’ll let you know very soon!
Where to get certain ingredients online:
- Canned wild Sockeye salmon
- Cold smoked salmon
- extra virgin olive oil
- ground mace
- ground ginger
- Maple syrup
- 1 213 g/ 7.5 oz can wild Sockeye salmon, drained, bones and skin removed (if any)
- 250 g/ ½ lb cold smoked salmon, chopped
- 2 tablespoons or 1 bunch fresh chives, snipped
- 1 - 2 teaspoons capers, rinsed thoroughly, soaked for 30 minutes, then chopped
- 2 tablespoons bacon fat
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon mace, or to taste
- 1 pinch ground ginger, or to taste
- ½ - 1 teaspoon maple syrup, optional (omit for Whole30)
- Melt the bacon fat and the olive oil together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat (or place in a microwaveable measuring jug and heat for 15 to 20 seconds in a microwave oven)
- Combine the rest of the ingredients together in a medium bowl, add the blended fat and oil and stir thoroughly until well mixed
- Season to taste with additional spices and maple syrup, if necessary
- Transfer into a serving container or jar