National Picnic Week: Smoked Salmon Rillettes Recipe

National Picnic Week: Smoked Salmon Rillettes Recipe

It’s a great week for a picnic as we’re currently celebrating National Picnic Week so you’ve no excuse!

A great addition to any picnic is this delicious smoked salmon rillettes recipe. It’s great for eating on melba toast in the park with friends and a glass of wine in hand.

Rachel Allen has created this recipe for Kerrygold and now it’s time for you to give it a try! Here’s the recipe.

Smoked Salmon Rillettes with Cucumber Pickle


75g (3oz) Kerrygold block butter, now softer

200g (7oz) smoked wild or organic Irish salmon

1 tsp water

200g (7oz) skinless fresh salmon fillet

Freshly ground pepper and nutmeg

Lemon juice, to taste

6 slices medium-cut white bread from a large sliced loaf


1. Melt 15g (1/2oz) Kerrygold butter in a saucepan. Add the smoked salmon and 1 tsp of water. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until it no longer looks opaque. Cool and refrigerate until cold.

2. At the same time, put the fresh salmon fillet into a saucepan and cover with water. Heat until almost boiling, then turn off the heat and let the salmon poach in the hot water for 5 minutes. Remove, cool and refrigerate until cold.

3. When cold, use two forks to shred both the fresh and smoked salmon – you are aiming for a coarse, slightly stringy texture.

4. Beat the remaining Kerrygold butter in a bowl, then add the salmon and mix together, still using a fork (do not use a food processor). Season with pepper and nutmeg. Taste and add lemon juice as necessary. Cover and chill.

5. Just before serving, make the Melba toast. Toast the bread on both sides. Cut the crusts off immediately and then split in half to create very thin slices. Scrape off any soft crumb, cut into

triangles and put back under the grill, untoasted side up for a few seconds until the edges curl up. Serve with the rillettes.

Tip: Salmon rillettes will keep perfectly in the refrigerator for 5-6 days provided they are sealed with clarified butter. To make clarified butter, melt 75g (3oz) Kerrygold butter gently in a saucepan. Allow it to stand for a few minutes, and then skim off the crusty white layer of salt particles from the top. Underneath this crust there is clear liquid butter, which is the clarified butter. The milky liquid at the bottom can be discarded or used in a white sauce. Pack the salmon rillettes into individual pots or a larger pottery terrine and level the surface. Carefully pour the clarified butter over the top. Chill to form a sealed layer.

Cucumber Pickle

Serves: 6


1 cucumber, thinly sliced (unpeeled)

1 small onion, thinly sliced

25g (1oz) caster sugar

1 tsp salt

200ml (7fl oz) cider vinegar


1. Combine the cucumber and onion sliced in a bowl (not a metal one). Add the sugar, salt and vinegar. 

2. Place in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator and leave for at least 4-5 hours or overnight before using. 

Tip: Keeps well for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Additional Recipe Tips:

Salmon Rillettes on Sour Dough: Toast or char-grill a slice of sour dough bread, spread with some rillette mixture. Top with a few tiny rocket leaves and some chive or wild garlic flowers.

Salmon Rillettes on Cucumber Slices: Cut two cucumbers into 5mm (1/4 inch) slices. Spoon a blob of the rillettes mixture on top of each cucumber slice. Garnish with sprigs of chervil, chives or wild garlic flowers. Arrange 3 on a plate with a little salad in the centre or serve as a canapé.

Extra Posh Salmon Rillettes: Line 6-8 individual moulds or ramekins with cling film, then put a slice of smoked salmon into each mould. Fill the moulds with the rillettes, then fold the ends of the smoked salmon over the rillettes to cover. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least one hour. 

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