Recipes by Nick Nairn

Excellent quality, delicious taste, superb consistency – some of the best I’ve ever had

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Nick Nairn's Rillette of Smoked, Poached and Hot Smoked Salmon Recipe

A good starter for any Christmas of Hogmanay feast

Recipe Category


Recipe Ingredient




For the rillette

  • 245g fresh salmon, to poach   Buy Now
  • 175g hot smoked salmon, flaked   Buy Now
  • 100g smoked salmon, finely shredded   Buy Now
  • 1 banana shallot, finely chopped
  • ¼ cucumber, deseeded and finely diced
  • 2 tsp fresh dill, chopped
  • a little crème fraîche
  • a little Hellmann’s mayonnaise
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • black pepper

For the dressing

  • 1 tsp dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp miniature salted capers, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 tsp gherkins, finely chopped
  • 100ml olive oil
  • black pepper
  • lemon juice to taste

For the thyme crostini

  • stale white bread
  • sprig of thyme
  • olive oil
  • salt and black pepper   Buy Now
  • salad cress and available herbs to garnish
Nick Nairn's Rillette of Smoked, Poached and Hot Smoked Salmon Recipe


First make the dressing. Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a small jug and taste, then leave to infuse.

Next make the thyme crostini. You could use bought Melba toast for these, or simply sprinkle olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme onto some thinly sliced stale white bread and bake in a 170C/325F/gas mark 3 oven until crisp. Keep aside until serving.

To poach the fresh salmon, bring a pan of water to the boil with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon. There should be enough water to just cover your fish. When it’s boiling, gently drop in the salmon, with skin on, and leave for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave until cooled. The fish should be opaque but not overcooked. Remove, peel off the skin, scrape off the brown muscle and flake into largish pieces.

For the rillette, place all the ingredients except for the crème fraîche and mayonnaise into a bowl and gently mix. Do not over mix; you want to keep the fish in as large pieces as possible.

Next, add just enough crème fraîche and mayonnaise to bind and hold together the fish. Remember you can always add more to bind, but it’s very hard to remove and if it’s too sloppy your rillette will be difficult to mould and won’t hold its shape.

Place your small metal rings on to cold plates and spoon your mix into the rings. Leave for a minute to settle then remove the moulds. Pour dressing round and sprinkle your greens around the plate. We’ve used Sakura Mix Micro Greens, but cress and any available herbs, such as chives and dill, would work well.

Serve with the thyme crostini.