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Salmon Rillettes - close up

Salmon Rillettes

  • Author: Jacques Pépin
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 16 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


Fresh butter-poached salmon and smoked salmon are combined in this classic and elegant spread. Served with baguette toasts, they make a lovely appetizer or first course.



8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 tablespoons onion, very finely chopped

6 ounces boneless, skinless salmon (belly is best), cut into 1½-inch pieces

3 ounces sliced smoked salmon, finely chopped

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon bottled horseradish


In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter in a microwave oven for 1 to 1½ minutes, until the clear part of the butter separates from the milky solids. Reserve ¼ cup of the clear melted butter to coat the rillettes.

Pour the rest of the melted butter, including the milky part, into a small saucepan. Add the chopped onion and cook gently over medium heat for about 2 minutes, until the onion has softened. Add the fresh salmon and mix well, then reduce the heat and cook, covered, for about 2 minutes. Mix again. The salmon should be barely cooked in the center and still a little pink. Transfer to a plate.

With a fork, crush the poached salmon into a coarse mixture. Transfer to a bowl, add the chopped smoked salmon, salt, pepper, and horseradish, and mix well.

Divide the mixture among three small ½-cup molds; the molds should be about three-quarters full. Smooth the top of each one with the back of a spoon. Pour the reserved melted butter on top. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve, let the rillettes warm up at room temperature for about 1 hour, so the salmon and butter soften a little. Then stir the top layer of butter into the rillettes and serve.

The rillettes will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 6 minutes
  • Category: Spreads, Appetizers
  • Cuisine: French


  • Calories: 193.51
  • Sugar: 0.29 g.
  • Sodium: 323.17 mg.
  • Fat: 17.56 g.
  • Saturated Fat: 10 g.
  • Carbohydrates: 0.68 g.
  • Fiber: 0.16 g.
  • Protein: 8.45 g.
  • Cholesterol: 58.95 mg.

Keywords: fresh salmon, smoked salmon, butter