A bit of disclosure; my doctor told me that I have high cholesterol and I need to cool it to make some changes. This news is obviously a blow to any food lover, and it requires me to be more strategic in my eating. Heeding his advice, I will be smarter and more mindful of what I’m eating. There are however a handful of things that I will not cut out. I’ll just eat less of them. One of those things is rillettes. I’ll have those in any way possible and there is no doctor that will hold me back from my love of this decadent meaty treat.
For those that aren’t too familiar, rillettes are a meat that has been cooked down in fat until it becomes meltingly tender and spreadable. Spiked with herbs and spices, it’s like a meaty paste, but much more delicious than I’ve described. If you see it on a menu and with friends, order it; you’ll all love it. Rillettes are available with all sorts of different ingredients; pork is traditional, but you can also find duck and salmon on the regular.
I still remember my first rillette experience. It was at Café Presse a few years ago. I didn’t know what to order, so I went with the ‘Pork Rillette’. I was expecting a pork sandwich because anything with pork is good. Out comes my rillette sandwich – a crusty baguette with this meat spread slather throughout the middle. I was slightly taken aback until I bit into it. It was the essence of the pork at its most basic. The flavor was pure comfort; enveloping, rich, and bold. I loved it and was glad I took the leap of faith in something I had no idea about. But isn’t this the beauty of food? To explore and be surprised. I knew I was in good hands at Presse and they didn’t let me down.
Now I remember all of sorts of rillette experiences. Like the time I had a duck rillette with pickled rhubarb from Chef Dustin at Art of the Table. That was a bite of heaven if I ever had one. Or the time when we didn’t know what to have for dinner, but we did have a small jar of pork rillette in the fridge. Dinner will be ready soon. I also love that rillettes are available around town. Jenny and Anson at Phinney Ridge’s Picnic have jars of salmon and pork rillettes for $9 each. And they are delicious! The only tough part with eating rillettes is waiting for them to get up to room temperature. Patience is a virtue and moments like this are when your virtue gets tested.
Although rillettes aren’t ‘good for me,’ they are totally good enough for me. Now I need to run a 5K to leverage this indulgence.