You probably can’t quite tell what’s in this – there is regular cooked salmon and smoked salmon (that’s the darker orange colored pieces), butter, chives, lemon juice and a bunch of other normal pantry stuff. You mix it up and pack it into a terrine and bring it out an hour or so before serving (so the butter softens a little). If salmon is a favorite of yours, you’ll like this.
Every spring we are invited to friends for Kentucky Derby day. Some of the ladies show up in flowy, flowery dresses and big floppy hats. Others are in Hawaiian attire, and yet others in regular casual clothes. I have worn a big floppy hat a time or two, but I’m not much of a hat person – I have fine, soft hair and I get a big whopping “hat hair” look that I truly don’t like. Nothing rescues my hair from that except another shampoo and blow dry! I either wear the hat the whole time, or I don’t take one at all. Usually, we dress casually, and hats don’t much go with that kind of outfit. Everyone is asked to bring an appetizer to share. They usually provide a big tray of wings and lots of mint juleps, which I l-o-v-e. My limit, though, is 2, especially if I’m driving and several hours have elapsed before I get behind the wheel. This year I had 1 1/2 and the 2nd one I asked the bartender to make it light on the bourbon, because I was driving 4 of us home. I think they use Maker’s Mark bourbon. Good stuff. They make up a mixture of the simple syrup with the mint muddled in already, so all the bartender has to do is pour in bourbon, add mint sprigs and a bit of 7-Up. They’re scrumptiously delicious.
Anyway, for my appetizer contribution I wanted something I could make ahead. Everyone wants finger food, so after attending several years, I’ve learned what things this group does/doesn’t like. We ended up coming home with a lot more of this than I’d planned. I thought it was really tasty, but I should have made half a recipe, I suppose. We still have some left over and will need to throw it out in a day or so.
In the photo at left there’s the raw (regular) salmon all cut up into small cubes. It was simmered on the range with vermouth and water (and lemon peel), cooled, then I carefully combined it with all the other ingredients. Here below right you can see the other stuff that was added to it like lemon zest, green onions, chives. Then I added the butter and the smoked salmon. You need to use a light hand with mixing as you’ll destroy the texture of it – you want to be able to see the two types of salmon. I sprinkled a bit more chives on top, although that wasn’t in the recipe.
It came from Dorie Greenspan’s book, Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. Dorie is an American, but she and her husband must be Francophiles at heart, as they own an apartment in Paris. She goes back and forth all the time (if you read her blog, you’ll know about her comings and goings). The recipe actually came from David Lebovitz, another American who now lives in Paris all the time. Both are accomplished culinary experts and authors.
You’ve probably heard the term “potted” – this is in relation to food, not liquor or consumption of it! The most common is potted shrimp, and I think I had that the first time I visited England about 40 years ago. As I recall, I was brought a plate with a small, very small ramekin on it and a few water crackers. The ramekin surface looked like congealed butter. Well, it was, but underneath was a shrimp mixture, and you just spread some of it onto the cracker. It was a first course at a restaurant. The Brits like potted things. So do the French (like duck liver), although in that case it’s called pâté, and it’s almost exclusively meat, usually more in a paste form. Americans have taken to meat pates, and our local grocery stores usually have some kind of offering, often imported from France. There are liver pates, and nut pates too, and my favorite, a rustic pate which usually contains some other cuts of meat, not just liver.
But back to potted food. We here in the U.S. don’t know much about “potted” anything. So anyway, this is potted salmon, through and through. This version contains butter (the most common binder used in potted food), but mayo is found in some.
What’s GOOD: the texture and color for sure. I probably should have put out a little sign telling people what it was. I don’t think this group is very adventurous when it comes to food. I should remember that for next year! I liked the taste of regular salmon and smoked salmon together – it makes a great combo. It also can be made a day ahead.
What’s NOT: really nothing. If you like salmon in its many guises, you’ll like this.
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Recipe By: Dorie Greenspan, from her book Around My French Table
Serving Size: 8
1 large lemon — multiple uses (see Directions)
1 red jalapeno chile — or use green if red isn’t available, multiple uses (see Directions)
1/2 cup vermouth — or dry white wine
1/2 cup water
5 white peppercorns
5 coriander seeds
1 Turkish bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 whole green onions — green tops and white parts finely chopped separately
8 ounces salmon fillet — skinless, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
4 ounces smoked salmon — thinly sliced and coarsely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter — room temperature
1/4 teaspoon pink peppercorns — finely cracked
Freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon chives — finely minced for garnish [my addition]
Toasted baguette slices — crackers, or toasts
1. Using vegetable peeler, remove one 3-inch-long lemon peel strip from lemon and place in medium saucepan. Finely zest remaining peel from lemon and set aside. Cut 1-inch-long 1/8-inch-wide strip from jalapeño and remove seeds; place jalapeño strip in saucepan with lemon peel strip. Finely chop enough of remaining jalapeño to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons; place in a small bowl and reserve. Add wine, 1/2 cup water, peppercorns, coriander seeds, bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and green onion tops to saucepan with lemon peel strip and jalapeño strip; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 5 minutes. Add salmon cubes; cover and cook 1 minute.
2. Transfer salmon mixture to strainer set over medium bowl and drain. Transfer poached salmon pieces to another medium bowl; discard liquid and spices. Using fork, lightly mash poached salmon. Add smoked salmon, reserved zest lemon peel, about 1 1/2 teaspoons reserved chopped jalapeño, and 2 tablespoons white parts of green onions and stir to blend. Add butter and mix in with fork until thick spread forms. Stir in 5 teaspoons reserved lemon juice. Stir in cracked pink peppercorns. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Add more lemon juice, salt and pepper as needed. It’s best to have a pronounced lemony flavor. Transfer salmon rillettes to glass jar or bowl. Press piece of plastic wrap directly onto surface of rillettes and chill until firm, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.
3. Serve rillettes with baguette slices, crackers, or toast.
Per Serving: 135 Calories; 8g Fat (58.6% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 34mg Cholesterol; 271mg Sodium.