Saturday, May 11, 2013

ChezCindy: Salmon Rillettes Appetizer

My latest obsession is with smoked salmon.  So much that I am researching how to make it at home.  It all started in early April on my weekend trip to New York City.  We went to breakfast at a beautiful restaurant, mostly seeking out a stunning view of Central Park.  At the top of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel is a wonderful restaurant, Asiate.  Go for the views, stay for the food.  A classic New York breakfast is a toasted bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon, mostly ordered from a deli.  I ordered this for my breakfast from this fancy restaurant and now have a new standard for smoked salmon.  Wow was it good.  I had that same breakfast for the next 3 days.  Their smoked salmon had a sweet-soy smokey flavor with a firmer texture than traditional cured smoked salmon.  It was just amazing.  I don't have their recipe.  But I'm working on it. 

Pictured above are salmon rillettes.  I have been making salmon rillettes for a few years now.  Think of this as something similar to tuna fish salad but made with salmon.  Rillettes is a French term for a soft spread made from meat or fish.  The classic salmon rillettes is made from fresh cooked salmon and smoked salmon, mixed with mayonnaise or butter.  This is a simple, but elegant appetizer for a party or a first course.  For those who don't think they like smoked salmon, you could leave it out and make this with just the cooked salmon.  The recipe calls for poaching the salmon, but you can improvise when you have left-over seared or roasted salmon.  Try this on crackers or toasted baguette slices.  I have also added a scoop to salad greens and it makes a delicious salad. 

Meanwhile, I have much research and trials to make my own smoked salmon. 

Salmon Rillettes
To poach the salmon:
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound fresh salmon without skin

In a small saucepan, bring the white wine, water, shallot, and salt to a boil.  Cut the fresh salmon into 1-inch cubes.  When the wine/water mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.  Add the cubed salmon to the pan; simmer until cooked through, about 2 minutes.  No more than 3 minutes.  Drain well.  Wrap the salmon and the shallots in plastic wrap; refrigerate until well chilled.  At least 1 hour or overnight. 

4 ounces smoked salmon, diced
1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

In a small bowl, stir together the diced smoked salmon and the minced chives.  Add the chilled poached salmon.  Using a wooden spoon, break up the fresh salmon as you mix with the smoked salmon.  Stir in the lemon juice; add the mayonnaise.  Season with the salt and white pepper.  Gently stir to combine.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Spread onto toasted baguette slices or crackers. 

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