This recipe differs from other salmon rillette recipes, lightly curing the fish first then poaching it gently in olive oil. The result is something that is rich and flavoursome, but lighter, with the preserved lemons providing a citrus lift and a salty contrast, much like you might use capers or cornichons. The oil can be reused for dressings or cooking but keep in the fridge between uses.
500g piece of salmon fillet
90g sea salt
45g caster sugar
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 litre of Crete Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Beldi Preserved Lemons – 1/2 cut into quarters only. Remaining 2 1/2 cut into quarters, flesh removed, and skin finely chopped.
Small bunch of dill (approx. 15g) finely chopped
1 small load of seeded or rye bread, thinly sliced
1 small jar lumpfish caviar or pink salmon roe caviar (optional)
Place the salmon fillet skin-side down onto a piece of foil. Mix the salt, sugar and pepper in a small bowl, pour over the salmon and wrap up. Place on a plate and allow to cure in the fridge for 3-4 hours
In a pan large enough to fit the salmon. Add the olive oil and 2 preserved lemon quarters. Turn the heat onto low and bring the oil up to a temperature of 65C. A temperature probe is very useful here but if you don’t have one, the oil shouldn’t be any visual signs of being hot, apart from being less viscous. To test the heat, dip a small piece of bread into the oil then carefully touch with your fingers. It should feel hot but not excessively so. If the oil feels too hot, turn the heat off and allow to cool a little. You could also do this using your oven but set the temperature to 70C.
Unwrap the salmon then wash under cold running water. Dry thoroughly with kitchen paper then carefully place into the warm confit oil. This will cause the temperature of the oil to drop, so keep the heat on low for a minute or two to allow the oil to return to 65C. The salmon should be covered completely by the oil, so if not add a little more oil, or cover with a lid or baking paper. Turn the heat off and allow the salmon to poach for around 15 to 20 minutes, so its cooked but still pink in the middle. The outside of the salmon should feel firm to the touch when cooked.
Carefully remove the salmon from the pan and place on a plate to drain and cool for 5 minutes. Break the salmon into pieces into a bowl by gently flaking the layers of flesh apart. Add 1 tbsp of the confit oil, most of the chopped preserved lemon (save a little for garnishing), mayonnaise and chopped dill. Mix gently to just bind the ingredients together then taste and add more salt if necessary. Mix again but don’t overdo it, as you don’t want to be like a paste. Cover and allow to cool in the fridge to set.
To make into canapes lightly toast thin slices of seeded or rye bread. Place a small spoonful of rillette on each piece of toast then top with a little caviar and a little extra preserved lemon.