Salmon rillettes have been welcoming guests to Le Bernardin for many years. More than a canapé, they’re a convivial offering that invites guests to share and enjoy – something I hope sets the tone for their dining experience.
It’s important that the salmon is cold when you mix it with the mayonnaise; otherwise, the sauce will break. You want the mayonnaise to be creamy, not oily. If you are making it from scratch, I recommend grapeseed oil, as it stays emulsified and doesn’t congeal when chilled. Add the chives at the last minute so as not to overpower the salmon with a heavy onion taste. You can refrigerate the rillettes (without chives) for up to 2 days, but once the chives are added, the rillettes last only a few hours before they develop an overwhelming onion flavor.
2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 pound fresh salmon fillet, skinned and pin bones removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 ounces smoked salmon, skin and pin bones removed, chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives
Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
Toasted baguette slices for serving
1. Line a plate with a kitchen towel. In a shallow pan, bring the white wine, shallot, and 2 cups water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the fresh salmon. Gently poach the salmon until it is just barely opaque, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Remove the salmon with a slotted spoon and immediately drain it on the towel-lined plate. Drain the shallot in a small sieve and discard the cooking liquid. Place the salmon and shallot in a bowl and refrigerate until cool.
3. Once the poached salmon and shallot are cool, add the smoked salmon to the bowl, then the mayonnaise and lemon juice, starting with about ¼ cup mayonnaise and adding the lemon juice sparingly. Adjust the levels of mayonnaise and lemon juice to taste as you go. Add the chives and gently mix the rillettes – do not overmix or mix too hard.
4. Season to taste with sea salt and white pepper. Serve cold with toasted baguette slices.
Excerpted from SEAFOOD SIMPLE copyright © 2023 by Eric Ripert. Used by permission of Random House an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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