The Best Appetizer You’ll Ever Make

I think.  And let me tell you, I was thinking about this all day!  It started with an Instagram photo that my friend (I’m delusional-remember? I have pretend friends.) Anthony Bourdain posted.  He looks incredibly thin these days.  I hope he isn’t feasting on nose candy.voyages2-atw-0514515-3

This is not the photo from Instagram. Bourdain looks overfed in this photo compared to the IG one. He’s too thin.

He needs to go back to Lyon to allow Paul Bocuse  force-feed him like a duck on his way to becoming a foie gras supplier!

French chef Paul Bocuse is seen during the 2011 Bocuse d'Or cooking contest ceremony in Chassieu, near Lyon, January 26, 2011.   REUTERS/Robert Pratta (FRANCE - Tags: FOOD HEADSHOT)

French chef Paul Bocuse is seen during the 2011 Bocuse d’Or cooking contest ceremony in Chassieu, near Lyon, January 26, 2011. REUTERS/Robert Pratta

This is the guy that Bourdain needs. Perhaps he could roast another Hare for Bourdain or force feed him!

I’m getting off topic here.

Anyway, if you like to entertain—even if you don’t like to entertain.  I have a great, great appetizer for you.  I know, I know, prep work and the thought of actually cooking and baking and following complex recipes stresses you out. Right?

Don’t worry, this appetizer is simple and easy to prepare.  The other great thing is that it is more on the healthier side than the unhealthier side. You can make it ahead and forget about it until the guests come.

It’s funny but give me a new recipe and I’m a happy woman.  I love classic French cooking. I love Middle Eastern cooking.  I love baking.  But the one thing I’ve always found challenging is finding a decent hors d’ oeuvre or appetizer that isn’t too heavy, too fatty, or takes too much time to prepare from scratch.   Sure. I can buy the frozen kind, which I do—but I like to have at least one or two home-made little treats that we can enjoy before dinner.

Back to Bourdain. Trust me, this is going somewhere.

Thanks to my friend Anthony Tony, Bonaparte and I have enjoyed some wonderful meals at Frenchie restaurant in Paris.  I’ve stocked up on some great kitchen supplies at E.Dehilleran.

Paris. E. Dehillerin!If you get a thrill at shopping for cooking and kitchen supplies, this is the place to shop when in Paris.  I needed a lot of time here! Thank you Tony!

And I discovered chef Eric Ripert through the bromance of these two guys.  I’ve written to these men in hopes that I could join them on their food adventure—we could be a great trio. But they gave me the brush off. A real throwmance.


Yeah. This is the way the two of these guys spoke about my near-stalking. Bourdain just smugly paid me no mind.  Ripert looks like he could very well call the gendarmes on me!

Regardless, last year in 2015, I was, once again, perusing the internet in hopes of finding good appetizer for Christmas.


Guess who I was entertaining for dinner that Christmas?  Not John Meyer.  It was my son, to Meyer’s left.  I miss Jake’s  “Jesus Jake” look–after all, my first born son is like the second coming of you-know-who!  (You can see that I still live vicariously through my grown children.  Mommy isn’t right in the head)

I was interested in Rillettes when what should my wandering eyes appear on the screen before me but a link to Chef Eric Ripert’s Salmon Rilette.

I figured it would be great to try making them because I certainly would never be invited to his restaurant Le Bernardin, where I could enjoy his salmon rillette on toast.


I would love to have dinner here, but Ripert would run for his life if he found out I was coming!! Does he not realize that I would be with a bona-fide Frenchman? Bonaparte could complain  talk to Ripert in French and I could once again be ignored!

I had to make them!  Here’s his recipe if you can’t click on the link above:


2 cups white wine
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1-pound fresh salmon fillet, cut
into 1-inch pieces
3 ounces smoked salmon, diced
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chive
½ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice                                                                                                                    Sea salt and pepper to taste.  NOTE:  I add fresh dill for a bit of depth.

In a shallow pan, bring the white wine and shallots to a boil. When the shallots are cooked, add the salmon and gently poach the salmon until it is just barely opaque. Remove the salmon from the wine and immediately drain on a towel-lined sheet pan. Strain the wine, reserving the shallots. Place the salmon and shallots in the refrigerator to cool.


I cooked the shallot in Mouton Cadet Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a good wine for cooking. I then added the cut salmon and poached for under three minutes

Combine the poached salmon and shallots in a mixing bowl with the smoked salmon, chives and some of the mayonnaise and lemon juice—use the mayonnaise and lemon juice sparingly to begin, and adjust to taste.


After the salmon was poached and all was drained, it was placed in the fridge to cool. Then I added the..


Smoked salmon and other ingredients.


Everything blended and ….

Mix the rillette—do not over-mix or mix too hard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add fresh dill like I do if you would like.  Serve cold with toasted baguette slices. We also serve on those little pumpernickel slices.


Put into jars.  I actually doubled the recipe so we would have extra. 

These are great with Pouilly-Fuissé. And the amazing thing is Bonaparte couldn’t get enough of the rilette–and he isn’t much of a fish eater but he loves these. It’s definitely been a keeper. Second Christmas in a row that I’ve made these and it looks like the rilette will be made a lot during the year!

And there you have it!  It is the best appetizer you will ever make—even if you are not a fan of salmon, you will enjoy making this because it is that easy!

So really, I have Anthony Bourdain to thank for this. Because if I never watched his show, I would have never found out about Eric Ripert. And then I would have passed the Salmon Rilette recipe by…and then….


Thank you Chef Ripert for the greatest appetizer recipe on earth!  Encore Merci!

A good French appetizer. A good French wine.  Here’s a beautiful French Song. Juliette Greco “Sous le Ciel de Paris”. I swear every time I hear this song I can visualize just wandering around St. Germain…

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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22 Responses to The Best Appetizer You’ll Ever Make

  1. MakeItUltra™ says:

    Great post and love this song !

  2. Merci pur la recette. Génial. Je vais essayer. Bonne Journée.

  3. Karen Geherty says:

    Thanks for posting. Can’t wait to give it a try.

  4. Sandra says:

    I enjoy your posts and your sense of fun. You might like reading Eric’s recently published biography, “32 Yolks”. He was born in Antibes and grew up on la Cote d’Azur where you vacation.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Sandra! Thank you! What’s life if you can not have fun. Right??? I vaguely remember hearing that Ripert was born in Antibes but didn’t realize he spent his time growing up in the area. Wow! That’s great to know. I have to look for that book. I believe a trip to Barnes and Noble is in order for this weekend! Thanks for the heads up on that book!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  5. calensariel says:

    Good for you…right? 😀 As for me, I HATE cooking!!!

  6. Miss Bougie says:

    Oh, you know about Dehillerin?? I love that place!! Everytime I’m at Les Halles I make my way over there. I love La Bovida, too (corner rue Etienne Marcel / rue Montmartre); but I don’t know whether I love Mora (rue Montmartre) more. They have everything, and I mean Everything, for those who like baking – comme moi! You should check them out, next time.

    Rillettes de saumon is very French. I serve it sometimes, too. Yum!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Miss B! Oh. I LOVE Dehillerin! I love all the cool stuff there. I love the guys who work there. It’s like being in a true-to-life treasure chest!! Hmmmm. I’ll have to check La Bovida out next time in!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  7. Yvonne says:

    Great recipe and I am going to try it when we next have guests. I would love to hear more of the Ripert story and have wanted to go to Le Bernidin but may not after your story if he was rude to you. I love Alain Bourdain and his style, language and general aesthetic. You are a great cook.

    • Catherine says:

      Holy Shitballs! Yvonne. That “story” is just a story!!! It’s my delusional sense of humor! I did write to both but never received an answer–they were never rude to me! LOL! OMG. I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere near Le Bernadin any time soon. I’m laughing so hard–but not at you–I thing the way I wrote this post may have been a bit on the confusing side!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

      • Yvonne Gray says:

        Well I am going to have to hand in my nationality!!!! Australians, we are supposed to live and breathe sarcasm, and it usually pours out every time we open our mouth. Normally, I always get it but you are too good. I know I have told you this before – your writing style is really, very,very good. Can see how your children ended up in the media. Got the gene pool plus had the sarcasm arena training since could they speak (and that’s a good thing). Brilliant!!!

  8. vavashagwell says:

    I’ve been monitoring Bourdain lately too. He has lost a lot of weight and I think it has aged him, quite frankly. I saw him in person in Los Angeles in September – he walked into the bar we were at and I nearly fainted like a true fan girl would. LOL. I think he must be working out or something, I’d be surprised if it’s drugs again….

    • Catherine says:

      Hi VaVa! I’m sure he’s working out. He is also into martial arts. I like him better with a bit more meat on him. His weight loss has aged him for sure. But I love him. I think he has the best job on earth..and he’s a great writer. Did you read Kitchen Confidential? It was a great read. Honestly, I don’t think it’s drugs either!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • vavashagwell says:

        I’ve got that book and it was great! I also bought his recent cookbook but haven’t had time to read through it, I’m sure it’s entertaining and has some good recipes. I like Anthony and his missives, he’s a guy I wouldn’t mind hanging out with. Suffice it to say, I’m still having high blood pressure having seen him in the flesh! MY god! My husband likes him, too. It was a moment in time I’ll never forget. I wanted to see a “star” while we were in LA, and Bourdain couldn’t have been a better pick!

  9. LA CONTESSA says:

    I never do an appetizer as we serve TOO MUCH FOOD!GUESTS think dinner is over after the PASTA!!!!!THAT IS JUST THE BEGINNING HERE.

    • Catherine says:

      You are quite welcome Elizabeth!! Oh..if it was up to me I would not do an appetizer..but Bonaparte loves his gazillion course dinners..especially on the weekends!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  10. I accidentally found the impressive Dehillerin shop – April 2015 – when I went to yarn shops in the area, plus had lunch at the 24 Hour Cafe across the street – yummy mussels!

  11. Jackie says:

    Catherine, this looks really delicious. I think I’ll try it once I get back to entertaining.

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