Now that we’re smack dab in the center of our Central Texas summer, I’ve grown tired of cooking over a hot grill or in a warm kitchen. To prevent myself from breaking a sweat, I’ve begun preparing foods that are lighter, take less energy to create and can be served chilled. This Vodka Salmon Rillettes recipe meets that criteria and tastes refreshing while being healthy and impressive to serve as an appetizer. Serves 6
8 oz fresh salmon filet, skin removed
1 tbls. Vodka
salt & freshly ground white pepper
4 cups water
1 cup dry, white wine
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, peeled and sliced in half length-wise
1 stalk of celery
1 leek, white part only
3 sprigs thyme
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp black peppercorns
5 tbls unsalted and softened butter
½ tbls crème fraiche
2 tbs. shallot finely minced
4 oz pre-packaged hot-smoked salmon
2 tbls. thinly sliced chives
½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 ½ tbls. fresh lemon juice
1 tbls. olive oil
In a bowl, season fresh salmon with salt & white pepper. Pour over vodka and let soak at room temperature for 20 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, heat water to a soft boil and add white wine, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, leek, thyme, bay leaf and black peppercorns. Let simmer for 20. Add the marinated salmon to the water mixture, remove from heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove salmon and chill in refrigerator for 40 minutes.
With a fork, flake the 4 oz. of packaged hot-smoked salmon and place in a medium bowl. Melt 1 tbls. of the butter and add the shallot. Cook over medium heat until softened then let cool.
In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining 4 tbls. butter until smooth. Whisk in the crème fraiche. Stir in the cooled shallot, both salmons, chives, lemon juice and olive oil and stir until combined. Season with salt , white pepper and paprika and distribute into individual serving bowls. Serve with green apples, toasted bread or fine crackers.