Rillettes is the French term to describe a rich pate which is traditionally produced from pork. The meat is cooked very slowly in fat until it is meltingly tender. Next, it is shredded, using 2 forks then mixed with ‘sufficient’ fat to produce a rough paste. A similar process to what we Brits describe as ‘potting’. Both are a simple method of preservation where by the meat pate is finally sealed with a layer of fat or clarified butter to exclude air and moisture.

Commercial brands from the supermarket have a longer shelf life as they additionally contain preservatives, but once opened should be stored in a fridge and treated as a fresh pate.

Rillettes (or Potting) best suits meats which are naturally fatty (pork, duck, game, tuna and salmon) and is delicious when served
with crusty bread or toast and accompanied by a small green salad.

As summer approaches and we hanker after lighter foods, Salmon Rillettes with its zesty hint of citron is a refreshing, tasty, option. Prepare a day in advance to serve thoroughly chilled, this is a delightfully simple starter for 4 or served with salad,
lunch for 2.

Salmon Rillettes

(serves 4 for starter or 2 for lunch with salad)

Take about 400g of salmon fillet and remove any bones and pinbones but leaving the skin intact. Steam for about 8 – 10 minutes until the salmon is cooked – some prefer medium-cooked but I normally leave for the full 10 minutes until the flesh turns from opaque to firm. Allow to cool a little and flake.

Place the flaked salmon into a medium sized mixing bowl, pounding with a fork. Add the finely chopped zest and juice of a small
lemon, a snipped small bunch of chives (about 1 tablespoon), 2 tablespoons of crème fraiche and a little white pepper. Pound again, mixing thoroughly. Tip into a serving dish and chill.