I’m a professed foodie.  I watch cooking shows.  I read cooking magazines.  I stroll through those kitchen supply stores, the kind that are harder and harder to find.  My family has a tradition of pulling-out-all-of-the-stops Friday evening meals, sampling new menus and recipes for both drink and food.

One of my favorite things to explore are appetizers.  Or hors-d’oeuvres.  Or amuse-bouches (for a randy, and amusing, definition of this word, check out definition no. 2 on Urban Dictionary).

Quite a bit of time ago, when Tyler Florence actually had a cooking show on The Food Network, I hastily scribbled down rudimentary instructions for a French classic hors-d’oeuvre, Salmon Rillettes.  Last week I pulled out my scribbles and decided to go for it for last Friday’s appetizer.  When I looked online for a little more instruction as to how to proceed, I was surprised to find Tyler Florence stating that he has too much respect for Thomas Keller and Bouchon to knock off these Salmon Rillettes (  Uh, sorry, Tyler, I watched you make these on your now-archived cooking show.


While googling about various ways to proceed, I discovered from David Lebovitz, that former Chez Panisse chef who lives and works and writes in Paris, that rillettes are a type of pate, a country-style spread, often prepared to make a rustic paste to spread on bread.  Sounds good to me.  Especially when using two types of salmon.


An 8 ounce mason jar will serve about 8 guests.  You’ll need:

2 oz. fresh salmon, lightly poached in Pernod, a la Bouchon (or substitute Absinthe, as I did).  Traditionally, it is poached in white wine.

2 oz. smoked salmon

1 T. chopped shallot

2-3 T. creme fraiche (you want the mixture to be thick, so don’t add too much).  Traditionally, mayonnaise is used.  I prefer the creme fraiche.

1 T. of your best olive oil

1 egg yolk

1 T. lemon juice (yep, forgot that in the photo)


Break up the two salmons into chunks and mix together, but don’t overmix.  You want pieces of salmon for texture.  Pack into your mason jar, and top with clarified butter, about 1/4 inch.  Though I think I poured a bit more than that!  Need a refresher for making clarified butter?


Chill for 1 hour.  While chilling, slice baguette pieces and toast.  Serve with baguettes.


The butter can be removed before serving.  In some restaurants it’s left on the table to be slathered on warm rolls that are presented.  Or, if you didn’t pour quite as much on as I did, you can eat it along with the rillette.  Ah, come on, organic butter made from milk from grass-fed cows can’t be that bad, once in a while!

Once removed, the rillettes should be eaten within 2-3 days.  The butter acts as a seal until it’s removed, much like the wax my grandmother used to seal jams.  I also read that it can be frozen and used for later.  Hmmm, I haven’t tried that yet.

And it’s Friday again.  What do I explore?  I think I see bone marrow on the menu, a la Fergus Henderson of St. John.  Lucky for me, I stumbled across this awesome restaurant while on a trip to London, before I knew how lucky I really was!

Passport Dinners brings you DIY (Do-It-Yourself) themed adventure dinner party kits for you to taste the world, one country at a time.  It’s not just dinner.  It’s a party!