Rillettes are a preparation of meat similar to pâté. Originally from France and traditionally made with pork, rabbit or duck. This version is made with Salmon and it’s perfect for Christmas entertaining. Make double quantities one for now and freeze one for later.
The term rillette perhaps refers to the final product and its appearance when spread on sliced bread. Rillettes were traditionally made with fatty pork belly or pork shoulder. The meat was cubed, salted and cured, cooked slowly over low heat until very tender, then raked into small shreds and blended with the warm cooking fat to form a rustic paste. Rillettes could be stored in crocks for several months. In Anjou, rillaud was a speciality, plated in the shape of a pyramid and topped with the pig’s tail; the rillettes were proudly displayed to the guest of honor. In time the rillette cooking style was applied to game birds, wild rabbit, and fish. Eventually several preparations for seafood rillettes were developed including an anchovy, tuna, and salmon version. Though the fish is not actually cooked in the fat, it is blended with fat to form the characteristic paste-spread. The soft, smooth texture is a deciding factor in determining a good rillette dish.