Sunday, January 25, 2009

Salmon Rillettes

Chris from Mele Cotte is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I've opted for that anise scented herb, Tarragon

tarragon© by Haalo

With its slender leaves of olive green and distinctive aroma, it is hard to mistake Tarragon for any other herb. Its family members includes the notorious Wormwood - a much maligned ingredient of Absinthe.

Tarragon is a herb that you either love or hate - some can find the aniseed flavour a touch overpowering but like many things, it is all a matter of finding a balance that will appeal to your particular preference.

One ingredient that works particularly well with tarragon is fish and it's this fact that had me seeking inspiration in the wonderul Stéphane Reynaud's book Terrine. Why this particular book? Well, it is the Australia Day weekend and entertaining is on the agenda.

Quick, easy and tasty and suitable for any weather conditions were my criteria and my attention was soon lost on the perfect dish - Salmon Rillettes.

Now rillettes are a pate like offering with the tendency to be quite rich - think shredded cooked meat bound with goose fat, absolutely delicious but not particularly healthy. These rillettes use salmon fillet that has been very lightly cooked until it's still pink in the middle. It's then bound together with butter, a little sour cream and lemon juice and a good dash of freshly chopped tarragon.

Stored under a little more melted butter in the fridge until it sets and you have an excellent summery style of rillette.

salmon rillettes© by Haalo

Salmon Rillettes

180 grams salmon or ocean trout fillet, skinned and bones removed
70 grams softened butter
1 tablespoon sour cream
½ lemon, juiced, to taste
fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground white pepper
melted butter, extra
lemon slice, optional

I used Tasmanian Ocean Trout for this dish but Atlantic salmon can easily be substituted.

tasmanian ocean trout fillet© by Haalo

Cut the fillet into even sized chunks.

Heat a little olive oil in a fry pan and place over a gentle heat. When heated, add in the salmon pieces, turn them as soon as they colour. You don't want to cook them through.

When done, place them on paper towels to remove the excess oil. Put the salmon pieces into the bowl of a small food processor along with the softened butter and pulse until combined.

Tip the mixture into a bowl and add in the sour cream, lemon juice and tarragon - stir until combined and then taste, adjusting the seasoning as desired.

Spoon this into small serving bowls - you should get 4 servings from this mixture.

salmon rillettes© by Haalo

Spoon the surface and then cover with cooled, melted butter - lay a thin slice of lemon in the center and then place in the fridge to set for at least an hour.

salmon rillettes© by Haalo

Serve with slivers of toasted sourdough or baguette.


  1. This looks really amazing. I think I'll would love to eat this. Beautiful pictures as always!

  2. Happy Australia Day! How lovely to have an occasion to celebrate with a lovely dish like this. I absolutely love tarragon so I'm sure I would enjoy it very much.

  3. I have never heard of rillettes. This looks delish! Salmon + tarragon = Big Smiles!

    Thanks for asking me to host WHB. The round up will be up tomorrow!

  4. Wow fantastic ideas for my next lunch with my friends.

  5. As usual, this looks good. I trust you had a nice Australia day celebration through the weekend.


  6. Thanks Lien!

    Thanks Kalyn - it's very easy to eat especially with good crusty bread

    Thanks Chris - you've done a wonderful job and look forward to seeing you host again!

    Thanks Cakeitaly

    Thanks Paz - it was relaxing and that is always good.

  7. This looks incredible! So pretty... and such a cool new version of rilletes, which I love and eat more often than I care to admit here in France.

  8. I've often had a hard time with the anise flavor of tarragon, however I think it's time to give it another chance. Thank you for sharing your recipe, and your photos are absolutely stunning!

  9. Thanks Emiglia - they are so tasty it's hard not to eat too much!

    Thanks Heidi - just try adding a little, just to give it a subtle flavour.


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