Recipe | Salmon rillettes with cucumber pickle, capers and pink peppercorns

I’m all for a rustic, slapdash approach when it comes to cooking. Food that is over-manicured and fussy has no place in the home kitchen, and will only lead to a maniacal cook and unrelaxed eating. That said, it is possible to create a dish that looks elegant and striking without the use of tweezers and paintbrushes for presentation. This recipe is incredibly simple, and yet looks (at least I think looks) delightful. Serve with toast and butter.


Serves 4 as a starter

For the cucumber pickle

Half a cucumber, thinly sliced

2 shallots, peeled and sliced

175g sugar

120ml cider vinegar


For the rillettes

1 glass of white wine

500ml water

1 bay leaf

250g skinless salmon

2 tablespoons creme fraiche

Juice of a lemon

Salt and pepper

To serve

Pink peppercorns




– Make the cucumber pickle by mixing the vinegar, sugar and salt until dissolved. Pour over the cucumber and shallot, cover and refrigerate. Can be done up to 4 hours in advance (any longer and the cucumber starts to discolour).

– For the rillettes, put the wine, water and bay leaf in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes before adding the salmon. Simmer for 2 minutes, then take off the heat, put a lid on and leave for a further 4-5 minutes, until the salmon is cooked.

– Remove the fish and put in a food processor with the creme fraiche and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and blend. You could also do this with a fork for a rougher texture. Taste for seasoning and adjust with more salt, pepper or lemon juice if necessary. Cover and stick in the fridge until ready to serve.

– To serve: place a quenelle of the rillettes in the centre of the plate. To one side lay a few slices of pickled cucumber. Round the outside alternate pink peppercorns and capers. Garnish the rillettes with a frond of dill and serve with toast. Or, if you can’t be arsed with the fancy bollocks, sling a bowl of rillettes in the middle of the table, along with the jar of pickle and some toast and let everyone pile in.

1 Comment

Filed under Recipes

One response to “Recipe | Salmon rillettes with cucumber pickle, capers and pink peppercorns

  1. Pretty as a picture! Like you say, the effect is ‘fancy’, but I love the simplicity of the recipe.

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