Salmon Tasting – Smoked, Poached & Raw

I love salmon in almost any form, as long as it’s fresh. This recipe combines three techniques (smoking, poaching and raw) and two ways to finish them. The first of which is a salmon rillette inspired from a dish I had at Le Bernardin in NYC and the second is a deconstructed version so each version of salmon can be appreciated on its own.

Serves 3 – 4

3/4 Ibs sashimi grade salmon – I usually get mine at H mart (best quality and price)

1/2 Ibs regular fresh salmon for smoking

Ponzu sauce

Smoked sea salt

Creme fraiche

Dry rub – your choice; I use coriander, salt, pepper, brown sugar, fennel and smoked paprika

1 bunch chives

Tarragon, diced

1 bottle sauternes or viognier

Lemon juice to taste

1 shallot chopped, save after cooking for the rillette

1/4 cup mayo

Toasted baguette slices



Obviously the smoke salmon takes the longest so start by given the salmon a generous rub and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature; smoke it on 200 – 225 for about 2 hrs. I used alder wood, but really anything would work; just be sure to check it often as smokers vary.

Salmon ready for the smoker

Salmon ready for the smoker

While the salmon is smoking, saute the shallot in 1 tbsp of EVOO for about 2 minutes, or just until browned. Next add the wine and bring to a simmer. Cut half of the sashimi grade salmon into 2 inch by 2 inch chunks. Reduce heat to low and cook the salmon for about 2 minutes on each side for a great rare texture.

The shallot fusing with the wine

The shallot fusing with the wine

At this point, you will need to cool the poached and smoked salmon if you’re going the rillette route. After you make this decision it’s time to dice the raw salmon into 1/4 in cubes, smaller if going the rillette route, and set aside. It’s very important to get high quality fish; there should be no fishy smell and the flesh should bounce back when poked.

High quality, sashimi grade salmon, or sake in japanese

High quality, sashimi grade salmon

For the rillete, chop the smoked salmon and the poached salmon to a fine dice and combine in a bowl with the sashimi, mayo, 2 tbsp of creme fraiche, cooked shallots and a squeeze of lemon juice; season with S&P to taste. Plate using a small bowl or ring mold, as I have below; finish with a piece of chive and a sprinkle of smoked sea salt! Serve the rillette with the toasted baguette slices.

I made this dish even more decadent by also adding a slice of the raw salmon

I made this dish even more decadent by also adding a slice of the raw salmon

If you decide to go deconstructed, plate a little bit of each fish on a rectangular platter and whip together a quick sauce using 4 tbsp of creme fraiche, a squeeze of lemon juice, 1 tbsp of chopped chive and a little smoked sea salt. Top the smoked salmon with a little of the sauce and fresh tarragon and top the poached salmon with just the smoked sea salt. For the raw salmon, I used a torch to crisp up the top and finished with a dash of ponzu and some smoked sea salt!

Salmon trio...sounds like a dish at Applebees...

Salmon trio…sounds like a dish at Applebees…

Any one of these preparations would be a great dish on its own, but combining all three provides a great textural experience and will surely impress!

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