Rillettes de saumon

Take the salmon out of the refrigerator about 1 hour before cooking so the fish is at room temperature. When forming the cakes, handle them gently so they don’t get too dense.

Poaching liquid

3 cups of water
2 cups of dry white wine
1 small onion with a clove in it
1 carrot
1 garlic & 6 whole peppercorns


1 lb of salmon fillets
1-1/4 cups bread crumbs
1/4 cup of fresh parsley + a pinch of thyme
1 cup of prepared mayonnaise with dijon mustard
1/2 cup of diced onions and 1/2 cup of diced celery
2 Tbsp of diced cornichons and 1 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
cooking oil

  • Bring the poaching liquid to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  • Add the salmon and simmer for 10 minutes per inch of thickness.
  • Remove salmon from the poaching liquid and set aside to cool.
  • After removing the skin and bones, flake salmon into a large bowl and set aside.
  • Combine 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs, thyme and parsley, salt and pepper, the mayonnaise, onions, celery, cornichons, Worcestershire sauce and the egg.
  • Toss gently to combine with the salmon.
  • Place the remaining bread crumbs in a shallow dish.
  • Form the salmon mixture into 10 patties.
  • Carefully dredge them in the crumbs.
  • Remove to a plate, cover and refrigerate for an hour.
  • Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  • Cook each patty for about 2 minutes per side or until brown.
  • Drain them on a paper towel.
  • Keep warm.

Velouté sauce

4 Tbsp of butter and 5 Tbsp of flour
1 cup of the reduced poaching liquid
1 or more cups of milk and 1/4 cup of cream
salt, pepper and nutmeg

  • In a saucepan stir the butter and flour until melted.
  • Beat in the cup of reduced liquid with a wire whip.
  • Add the milk and bring to a boil.
  • Season with salt and pepper and the nutmeg.
  • Add some cream if desired.


Serves 8 to 10.

Batter for Giant Crêpe

1/3 cup of flour
1/2 cup of milk
1 large egg
1 Tbsp of cooking oil / 1/2 tsp of salt

Pâte à choux

1-1/2 cups water in 2 1/2 quart saucepan
1-1/2 sticks of unsalted butter cut into pieces
1-1/2 tsp of salt
1 cup of flour
6 large eggs


2 lb of sole fillets (16 fillets each about 9×2 inches)
1/2 lb skinless and boneless halibut or more sole fillets
1 cup of heavy cream
10 oz of mushrooms
Several shallots
Salt, pepper, nutmeg, some additional butter

  • Arrange about 3 layers the fillets with sprinkling of minced shallots, salt and pepper and a few drops of Cognac.
  • Refrigerate.
  • For the Giant Crêpe, place flour in a bowl and make a hole in center.
  • Add the egg, oil and salt.
  • Beat together and slowly incorporate the flour as you add the milk.
  • Let rest for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Smear a sturdy jelly roll pan with butter, roll flour in it.
  • Put a thin layer of crêpe batter into pan and set in lower oven for 4 or 5 minutes or until set.
  • Then place under the broiler to brown top slowly and lightly.
  • Slide crêpe off into a cake rack.
  • Refrigerate between two sheets of wax paper.
  • For the pâte à choux, bring 1-1/2 cups of water to boil with the cut up butter and salt.
  • As soon as the butter has melted, remove from heat and dump in all of the flour at once.
  • Beat  vigorously until smooth.
  • Set again over high heat beating continuously to evaporate excess moisture.
  • Scrape paste into a mixer.
  • At low speed, incorporate 5 eggs one after another.
  • Break sixth egg in a small bowl, beat it, and add it to the mixture by droplets, only as needed, so that the mixture holds its shape.
  • Remove 1/2 cup and refrigerate for fish mousse.
  • Set the rest in a bowl over warm water for final assembly.
  • For the fish mousse, cut the halibut and one of the sole fillet into chunks.
  • Place in the food processor with cold choux paste, 3/4 cup of chilled cream, 1/2 tsp of salt, grinds of white pepper, pinch of nutmeg.
  • Ground into a fine paste.
  • If too stiff add more cream, but it should hold its shape.
  • Cover and refrigerate.
  • For the mushroom duxelles, mince mushrooms by hand or in food processor.
  • Sauté in frying pan in 2 Tbsp of melted butter with some minced shallots for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Season lightly with salt and pepper and pour in 3 Tbsp of Cognac.
  • Boil down rapidly to evaporate liquid.
  • Scrape into a bowl and reserve.

Assembling the Choulibiac

  • Spread the Giant Crêpe on a buttered baking dish (nonstick if possible) and trim off any stiff edges.
  • Spread 1/3 of the fish mousse in a rectangle about 12 x 5 inches and arrange half of the fillets over it.
  • On top of that, spread half of the duxelles, then the rest of the fillets and remaining duxelles.
  • Beat any fish-seasoning juices into reserved mousse and spread it over top and sides of fish structure.
  • Then, bring the ends and sides of the crêpe up over the fish, trimming off any crêpe in excess of 1 inch edging.
  • Reserve half cup of choux paste for decoration; then, using a flexible spatula dipped in cold water, spread choux pastry evenly over top and sides, masking structure completely.
  • Poke holes in the lower part of the four corners and insert buttered foil funnels.

Decoration and baking

  • Preheat oven to 425°F and set rack in lower-middle level.
  • If choux paste has cooled and stiffened, beat over warm water.
  • Spoon in pastry bag with half inch cannelated tube.
  • Paint Choulibiac with a coating of egg glaze then decorate as you wish.
  • Reserve 5 or 6 Tbsp of choux pastry for velouté sauce.
  • Glaze the decorations and the rest of the pastry with two coatings of egg.
  • Immediately set in oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until pastry is slightly brown and puffy.
  • Turn oven down to 375°F and continue baking another 20 minutes.
  • Serve as soon as possible with a velouté sauce.

Velouté sauce

2 cups of fish trimmings
1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, chopped
parsley, bay leaf
1 cup of white wine, 1 cup of water, 1/2 tsp of salt
5 to 6 Tbsp of choux pastry
1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of cream
white pepper, lemon juice, butter (as much or as little as you wish)

  • Simmer the fish trimmings with the vegetables, herbs, wine, water, salt for half an hour.
  • Strain, then boil down rapidly to 1 cup.
  • Gradually blend in the choux pastry, pour into saucepan and simmer thinning out as necessary with spoonfuls of milk and cream.
  • Sauce should coat a spoon lightly.
  • Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  • Add additional butter if you wish.