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Over the years, I have tasted many of Justin’s delicious dishes (lucky me!). If you ask me which one is my favorite, I would say crudo. Crudo, which translates as “raw” in Italian, is just that: raw fish. Justin is the master of seafood. He gets the best quality seafood and dresses the crudo with EVOO, lemon, and Maldon sea salt. Or he jazzes it up with seasonal herbs and shaved veggies. He keeps it simple and highlights the very best that the sea has to offer.
If you want to create a chef-y appetizer at home, you can’t miss this recipe. If deep frying sounds intimidating to you, forget about the crispy rice chips. You can thinly slice a French baguette, brush them with EVOO, and toast them. You will create a salmon rillettes crostini. This is a versatile dish. Go East with fish sauce and rice wrappers or go West with crostinis. It’s up to you!
4 as an appetizer
Justin Shoults + Melissa Lee of Cooking Beautifullee
8 oz. fillet of Atlantic farm-raised salmon
½ onion peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 cup white wine
4 cups water
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons cream cheese (room temperature)
4 tablespoons butter (room temperature)
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
½ teaspoon fish sauce
1½” piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon fresh dill or shiso, chopped
¼ cup scallions, sliced
4 cups canola oil, or other oil with a high smoke point
Let butter and cream cheese sit out at room temperature.
Place the piece of salmon on a plate. Season on all sides with a light layer of salt. Let the salmon sit to absorb the salt while you make the poaching liquid.
Bring the water and wine stock back up to a boil and turn off the heat. Add in the piece of seasoned salmon. Poach the salmon with the heat off for about 5–7 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon. Remove the salmon from the liquid and place on a plate lined with a paper towel. The salmon should be nicely cooked through and flake easily. Allow the salmon to cool.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the softened cream cheese and butter. Whisk together until thoroughly combined. Add in a teaspoon of rice wine vinegar, the fish sauce, grated ginger, Yagenbori, a pinch of salt, and the herbs and scallion. Mix well.
Flake the cooled salmon into a medium bowl with the seasoned cream cheese. Gently fold in the flaked salmon until thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Serve immediately or chill the rillettes in the refrigerator until ready to eat. You should pull the rillettes out for 15 minutes to temper before serving.
Place the canola oil in a high sided pot that has at least 4 inches above the oil line. Place on medium-high heat.
Bring the oil up to 350F.
Break the Vietnamese spring roll wrappers in half. Using a pair of tongs, gently place the wrappers into the 350F oil. Using the tongs, press them to the bottom of the pot. They will expand and float but keep pressing down until the bubbles subside.
Once the bubbles have subsided and the wrappers are bubbly everywhere, pull the cracker out onto a plate lined with paper towels. Season immediately with salt and fresh cracked white pepper.
Break the crispy rice cracker into bite-sized pieces.
Take the salmon rillettes and spoon about 1 tablespoon on each cracker.
Optionally top with sliced scallions, herbs, and salmon caviar, and serve immediately.
The oil from frying can be cooled, strained, and re-used, until it acquires too strong a flavor.
The rillettes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. The rice crackers are best done fresh but can be made early in the day, cooled, and placed in a container with an airtight lid.
If salmon is not available, you could do the same method with any flaky white fish such as cod, hake, or haddock. You could also serve this dish as “DIY salmon rillettes and chips.” Simply place the salmon rillettes in a nice glass jar and serve on a platter with the rice crackers on the side for people to build their own.