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 rillette crostini. This is a versatile dish. Go East with fish sauce and rice wrappers or go West with crostinis. It’s up to you!
While teaching Asian cooking classes at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, crispy spring egg rolls have been a fan favorite. There are different styles of spring rolls from various regions across Asia: Thai-style, Cantonese-style, and Vietnamese-style spring egg rolls come to mind. The fillings, condiments, and dipping sauces may vary, but they are all wrapped in wheat wrappers and deep-fried. Deep-fried egg spring rolls are popular because of the crispy texture. Inspired by dips and chips, Justin created deconstructed spring roll chips by using Vietnamese rice paper rolls.
Vietnamese rice paper rolls are also extremely popular in the United States. You have probably seen them in ready-to-eat food packages at Trader Joes, Whole Foods, or Wegmans. In the States, these rolls are called by several different English names, including “salad roll,” “spring roll,” and “summer roll.” It’s confusing. Spring or summer?
The name “summer roll” was popularized by Vietnamese American restaurants for easier marketing and as a seasonal play on the term “spring roll.” But many Vietnamese American restaurants still use “spring roll” as the English translation. As William Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet: “What's in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” You can call this dish salmon rillette on a crispy spring roll or summer roll. We promise it will taste delicious by any other name (such as crispy rice chips!).
Salmon Rillette on Crispy Rice Chips
- Cutting board
- Chef’s knife
- Microplane grater
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Medium mixing bowl
- Small pot
- High sided large pot
- Hand tools/Gadgets
- Paper towels
- Rubber spatula
- Instant-read thermometer
- 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
- 1 ½ ” piece of ginger peeled and grated
- A pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dill sliced
- ¼ cup scallions sliced
Crispy Rice Chips:
- 4 sheets of Vietnamese spring roll wrappers with sesame seeds
- 4 cups canola oil or other high smoking point oil
- white pepper
To Make the Rillettes:
- 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.
- In a small pot, add the onion, garlic, wine, water, 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of salt. Bring this liquid to a boil and shut off immediately. Allow the liquid to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
- 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, a pinch of cayenne, a pinch of salt, and the dill 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.
To Make Crispy Rice Chips:
- 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 black pepper.
To Assamble Salmon Rillette on Crispy Rice Chips
- Break the crispy rice cracker into 2 bite pieces.
- Take the tempered salmon rillettes and spoon about 1 tablespoon on each cracker.
- Top with sliced scallions and serve immediately
Storage TipsThe 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.
Chef’s TipsIf 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.
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Chief Entertainment Officer
Melissa is 100% MIT (Made in Taiwan), where she worked as a food writer. She’s also worked alongside renowned chefs like Ming Tsai and Joanne Chang, honing her craft and gathering stories along the way. Part story-teller, part educator, and part food lover, Melissa brings a special blend of experience, skill, and enthusiasm to her work. She blends her Asian background, her new home of New England, and love of food and culture to bring joy, optimism, and inspiration to food lovers and fun-seekers everywhere.
What sparked your passion for the industry?
The desire to make things by hand. The joy of sharing delicious, hearty food with students. The opportunity for people to get connected via cooking and baking. When a child smiled broadly and told me it’s the best scone he has ever made and eaten, it really made my day!
In your opinion, what’s the most important course?
Well, I usually take a peek at the wine list first. I like tapas style, so the course doesn’t really matter. Cheese and charcuterie are always a good place to start. And since I’m a pastry chef, there is always room for dessert!
Bill Gates is picking up your tab, where would you go?