As I looked through this recipe, and did a little research, I decided that I would veer slightly off-path with my salmon, but loved the description of Dorie’s poaching method, so wanted to keep that.
This is essentially a rough spread combining poached salmon and smoked salmon. I’ve written before about my tightly held opinions about salmon. I really did go salmon fishing every year for a while, and often smoked salmon at home with the fish we brought back (I really need to find those pictures!!). I like the drier “hot-smoked” salmon much more than the lox versions. There’s a bit more texture, and I think flavor, since it’s brined prior to smoking. So for mine, I chose coho salmon for the fresh, and a smoked Scottish salmon (farmed) that were the relatively less-expensive version of the choices at WF, though all of the flavored smoked choices (now that I’ve made the recipe), would likely be terrific here too.
The salmon is poached in a spiced, winey broth for just a minute after the broth itself is allowed to simmer to develop flavors. I ended up using some fresh cayenne chile pepper and substituted some Chinese cooking wine for the white, since I didn’t have any open. The other ingredients are simple to set up.
As noted, the fresh salmon only poaches for about a minute. I liked the idea of the salmon cubes, since it seemed that they would really take on the flavors in the broth.
This salmon gets drained, then combined with the smoked salmon, mashing a bit to create a spreadable consistency, but not so much that they texture is lost. One concern I had was that the smoked salmon might be too chunky, based on what I’d read, but it seemed to be soft enough for this dish.
Once the salmon is the correct consistency, the other ingredients are added along with lemon, salt and white pepper. Seasoning more after tasting. I ended up adding some “Sunny Spain” seasoning from Penzey’s – and actually quite a bit of it. It has a little garlic as well as the lemon and pepper. I thought it needed it to make it flavorful.
This gets packed into canning jars (and a little go-container for my lunch Monday). The rillettes are chilled for at least 2 hours to make the butter firm up and have all of the flavors meld. Unlike other versions, Dorie has us press plastic wrap to the surface, while other recipes add a layer of clarified butter on top to seal the jar.
(Sometimes things go awry, I forgot this when I left for Sedona today, so should have been enjoying this in the garden with a nice glass of wine. I did really love this (and no, it won’t go to waste), and will definitely make this again.)