Smoked Fish Rillettes | Wild + Whole

Rillette is a fancy term for a thick dip or spread. The most traditional rillettes are made with braised meat and duck fat and duck or rabbit fat. Unlike the more refined pâté, rillettes have more texture and a rustic appearance. Both are usually served with crusty bread, crackers, and sides like mustard and relishes. Although you usually see protein-based rillettes like waterfowl, fish also makes a great base. For the skeptics, technically speaking, tuna salad is a fish rillette. You can make a fish rillette from just about any fish, smoked or unsmoked, but I prefer a smoked fish rillette for that extra layer of flavor.

The basic concept is to shred the fish and add some fat. In this recipe, I use smoked blue fish, labneh and olive oil as the main ingredients. You can do this with trout, salmon, mackerel or any other flaky fish. And you can replace the labneh with sour cream, Greek yogurt or mayonnaise. You can also substitute olive oil for duck fat or bacon fat; There are no rules.

For seasoning, I use fresh dill, lemon, and celery seed to give a classic flavor profile. The shallot and chives add a bit of texture and a bit of acidity. All you have to do is mix the ingredients, stir in the fish and season to taste. I find using a fork to stir in the fish strikes a good balance between even distribution and blended texture.

Rillettes are best served on crackers, toast or raw vegetables. It also makes for a wicked sandwich if you feel so inclined. Store it in an airtight container and keep it cool. Store it in your cooler for lunches by the river or incorporate it into a fancy charcuterie spread. This smoked fish rillette is packed with flavor and protein, it’s portable, and it’s a great way to stretch out some of your finely smoked fish.

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