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Appetizers, Fish and Shellfish

Salmon rillettes

Salmon rillettes
Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Self-control is never one of my strong suits, but I can resist out-of-season food as easily as a teetotaler tunes out Robert Parker. There are a dozen reasons why, but the most basic is simply the pleasure principle. Abstinence does ... Read more

Total time: 15 minutes, plus chilling time | Serves 8 to 10
  • 2 cups dry vermouth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 4 white peppercorns
  • 8 ounces fresh wild salmon, skinned and boned, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 ounces wild smoked salmon, minced
  • 3 tablespoons creme fraiche (or more to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons chopped chives, divided
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 2 ficelles, thinly sliced

Step 1Combine the vermouth, bay leaf, sea salt and peppercorns in a nonreactive saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the salmon cubes and cook 15 seconds exactly. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well, then place in a mixing bowl.

Step 2Mash the salmon cubes with a wooden spoon until chunky-smooth. Add the smoked salmon, creme fraiche, 2 tablespoons chives and the lemon juice and mix well. Taste and add the hot sauce, salt and pepper. Add more lemon juice and/or creme fraiche if you like. Chill 1 hour to meld flavors. Makes about 3 cups.

Step 3Return to room temperature before serving. To serve, spread on ficelle slices and sprinkle with the remaining chives.

Note: Ficelles are very long, thin loaves of French bread.

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