WINE WITH…Smoked Salmon Rillettes
This is the time of year when we’re all happy to have a couple of reliable, delicious, relatively simple and wine-friendly recipes on hand. Whether a
simple snack or more substantial fare, we ideally want the dish to be something that can be made a day or two ahead and whipped out of the fridge just as the guests begin to arrive. Enter Smoked Salmon Rillettes.
Rillettes is a pâté-like preparation usually spread on bread, toast, or crackers. Although customarily made from chopped pork that has been simmered in fat a long time until it is very tender, this deliciously rustic fare may also be made from goose, duck, or game birds, as well as salmon or, as we recently discovered, smoked salmon. This version tastes somewhat more elegant than most others, and so is an excellent choice for holiday entertaining. And make plenty. If your guests are anything like ours were, they’ll eat every morsel!
Smoked Salmon Rillettes
May be made up to a day before serving.
8 ounces smoked salmon
1 teaspoon minced chives
6 ounces soft goat cheese*
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Finely shredded zest from ½ lemon
½ teaspoon paprika
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
*Do not used cheese flavored with herbs
Cut the salmon in large pieces then chop them coarsely using the pulse function on your food processor. Cut the cheese in chunks and add to the salmon, along with the lemon juice and zest, the paprika, and black pepper. Pulse a few more times, then drizzle in the olive oil.
Pack the rillettes into a serving bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to a day. Serve with grilled or toasted bread such as baguette, or with crackers.
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When throwing a holiday party featuring rillettes, you probably won’t open the fanciest bottles in your cellar, but instead will look for values that can please connoisseurs and wine neophytes alike. We kept this in mind when trying our smoked salmon rillettes, and we came up with five wines that should fit the bill nicely. What unites them? They all are white (or sparkling), and while medium to full-bodied, none shows any overt oak flavor. A heavy wood influence, we discovered, will make the rillettes taste too fishy.