Salmon Pate (Rillettes)

For a recent Sunday lunch with friends and family and to celebrate my birthday, I decided to try out some new recipes.

And as I love salmon and had in my mind the idea of trying to find a recipe for a starter which combined my favourite two salmon ingredients - cooked salmon and smoked salmon.

I just couldn't believe my eyes when there in one of the cook books (which I had picked up for a mere £1 from a local charity shop) was exactly the type of recipe I was looking for and I had all the ingredients on hand (which is always a bonus).

The recipe is actually a pate, but because of it's texture it has been called rillettes.

Rillettes are usually made from pork, duck, goose, chicken, game birds or rabbit and less commonly from fish such as tuna, anchovies and salmon.

So, the cook book is "Two Fat Ladies - Obsessions" and the recipe is 'Salmon Rillettes'.

The recipe turned out so well and was totally enjoyed by all, that I am going to make another batch to take to our family Christmas Day celebrations in Little Hampton.

2 tbsp x olive oil
1 small clove of garlic, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme plus a little extra to garnish
175g/6oz salmon, boned, skinned and cut into cubes
25g/1oz butter
55g/2oz smoked salmon, cut into matchstick pieces
2 tbsp fromage frais or Greek yoghurt
Lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Pour the oil into a frying pan and add the garlic and thyme. Heat very gently and just sizzle for about 10 minutes. Do not let the garlic colour or it will leave a bitter taste.

Remove the garlic and thyme from the pan, and add the fresh salmon to the oil. Stir for a minute or two until it is just cooked. Pour the contents of the frying pan into a food processor.

Melt the butter in the pan and add the smoked salmon. The moment it starts to change colour, take the pan from the heat.

Add the fromage frais or yoghurt to the food processor. Process very briefly, just to mix everything. Add the smoked salmon, lemon juice, plenty of pepper and a pinch of salt. Process briefly again, remembering that you want a coarse result at the end. Adjust the seasoning.

Turn into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Garnish with a little more thyme before serving.

  • I used crème fraiche - because that's what I had in my fridge (I am sure you could use sour cream)
  • I was not sure what to do with the garlic and thyme after you remove it from the pan so I added it to the food processor (seemed like a waste to throw it away).
  • I used unsalted butter (because it is the only kind of butter I have in the house)
  • The recipe does not say how much lemon juice to use so I just squeezed the juice from half a lemon and added as much as I thought it needed by taste
  • I did not want to salt it too much - preferred to increase the lemon juice instead
  • Also, I wanted to make more than the recipe - I used about 300g salmon - and adjusted the other ingredients to that.

  • I refrigerated it overnight.

    Hope you all enjoy it as much as we did and I am so thankful to the Two Fat Ladies !!

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