Loaded Duck Rillettes on Toasted Fat Bread

The other day when I was composing my post on tuna salad I suddenly thought of rillettes (pronounced ‘ree-yet’), a sort of French rustic pâté. Many homes I was lucky enough to dine at back in my years there always had a crock of rillettes—pork or duck typically. It keeps for a long time without refrigeration and is alwways served room temperature.

Here’s the description from Wikipedia.

Rillettes is a preparation of meat similar to pâté. Originally made with pork, the meat is cubed or chopped, salted heavily and cooked slowly in fat until it is tender enough to be easily shredded, and then cooled with enough of the fat to form a paste. They are normally used as spread on bread or toast and served at room temperature.

Rillettes are also made with other meats, goose, duck, chicken, game birds, rabbit and sometimes with fish such as anchovies, tuna or salmon.

And my are they good. Very fatty. It’s like a French form of pemmican. I thought of them because mayonnaise for tuna salad is a pain in the ass—bad for you if purchased from the store because of the frankenoils they use to make it…a chore to make at home.

But what if you could make “loaded” tuna rillettes as a surrogate for tuna salad, but use an animal fat such as butter, duck fat, leaf lard, bacon fat, etc., instead? So I set off to experiment. What would be the consistency if I took duck rillettes and loaded them up with the ingredients one might put in tuna salad? That’s exactly what I did.

IMG 1133
Rillettes du Périgord

I love an ingredient list like this: duck meat, duck fat, duck stock, duck liver, corn starch (not that one), salt, black pepper, nutmeg, bay leaf, thyme. IOW: lottsa duck. It was chilled, so I let it get to room temperature. Chopped up onion, cornichon style pickles, then added bacon bits, a dusting of garlic powder, more black pepper, and a spluge of dijon mustard.

IMG 1135
Relative proportions

Well, it came out just like a tuna salad in terms of consistency. I mixed it all up and popped it in the fridge for a few hours in order for the flavors to release, then mixed it up again.

IMG 1138
Looks like…tuna salad!

Well, it doesn’t taste like tuna salad but my oh my was it good! I determined we would have it for dinner, so I sliced up some Fat Bread, toasted the slices on the rack under the broiler, both sides, and cut them in half. A small green salad served alongside.

IMG 1139
Big small meal

A back of the envelope calculation puts the caloric value somewhere around 1,500—the Fat Bread being so dense, and then all the fat in the “duck salad.” Bea and I were very satisfied. Stuffed, even.

Here’s a closeup shot.

IMG 1140
Duck Salad Rillettes

You’ll want to try this. It is pricey, however. That 7 oz container was about $12 at Whole Foods. I haven’t checked online.

In terms of fish rillettes, it already exists. Here’s a recipe for salmon that uses butter for the fat. And here’s one for tuna that uses butter and heavy cream. Another that uses olive oil—but of course everyone knows how to do that already. My grandmother had a recipe for a similar thing to spread on crackers using smoked salmon, cream cheese, and a few other ingredients I don’t recall. It’s quite rich, intended for small bites, so perhaps not the best thing for a sandwich.

At any rate, I’ll see if I can get hold of some duck fat and leaf lard and try both. I’m leery of trying butter, but perhaps a small test batch would be called for. Since I love bacon in tuna salad, trying bacon fat is a must as well.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Andy on September 8, 2012 at 15:48

    OMFG that looks good.

  2. Amy Haines on September 8, 2012 at 18:36

    I’ve been making rillettes out of sardines for awhile, as a way to make them palatable to my kids. Sometimes I use butter but often it’s strained full-fat yogurt or cream cheese, some thyme or dill, salt and pepper, and maybe a bit of onion powder. For the kids I don’t season my rillettes too heavily. When I make it for my husband or if we have guests, I get a little un-traditional and spice it up with Sriracha and add finely chopped celery and onions. I find it helps people to eat it if you don’t tell them it’s sardines.

    I have made Jacques Pepin’s traditional rillettes recipe using leftover pork and duck fat and was blown away by the flavor. I will try duck fat in my sardines rillettes the next time I prepare them. I forgot how rich and flavorful the duck fat makes…pretty much everything.

    • Trish on September 9, 2012 at 14:56

      I may try this. Is there a recipe you follow or you just throw stuff together?

  3. steve on September 8, 2012 at 19:11

    Big fat-ass paleo.
    Get off the fat. Not to mention the pufas.

    Google the okinawans and the kitavans.

    And yes richard, you can tell me to fuck off. Let’s just pre-empt that shit. I can hereby fuck off.

    So fuck me and fuck you.

    • G Custer on September 8, 2012 at 20:03

      Hi Steve, you cunt. Do whatever works for you buddy. Okinawan shit probably works well for okinawans. Fuck, that fruitarian shit even seems to work for some people. Is there one thing that works for everyone? I fucking doubt it very fucking much. I’ve fucked around with every fucking thing in the diet world and I know what works for me. High protein, moderate fat, carbs to suit daily activities and most important of all – lift really heavy shit (700lb leg presses for example) and fuck that cardio shit off. Fuck you and the fucking horse you rode in on you useless cunt Steve.

      • Richard Nikoley on September 8, 2012 at 23:54

        Thanks G Custer.

      • Richard Nikoley on September 8, 2012 at 23:56

        …I only say that because I did a 7.5 lb brisket today. 6hr soak.

      • RG on September 9, 2012 at 06:02

        Brisket makes some damn good tacos . . .

        First time I heard of rillettes (and no- I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck)

    • EatLessMoveMoore on September 8, 2012 at 23:42

      @ Steve,

      Wow. Quite possibly the most perfect FTA comment EVER. And its general thrust is totally irrelevant! This is how you fight like the big boys. If only the little girls got that memo…

    • Richard Nikoley on September 9, 2012 at 00:26


      How about you give me a PUFA rundown of fat bread, and please do your research.

      • steve on September 9, 2012 at 07:17

        the percentage pufas may be low, but its still a pants-load.

      • Richard Nikoley on September 9, 2012 at 10:26

        “the percentage pufas may be low, but its still a pants-load.”

        Nope, minuscule in percentage (about 3% as I recall) for all pufa and minuscule in absolute terms, especially when considering just a slice or two of the bread.

        If you’re talking the duck, it’s about the same as pork, 12-13% pufa, 50% mono, high 40s sat. You’re not going to get a big pufa load either way. Besides, nobody is talking about existing on this as a staple.

        You’re being silly all the way around.

      • steve on September 9, 2012 at 19:06

        this is all good news.
        Thanks for everything.

      • Richard Nikoley on September 10, 2012 at 07:41

        And you’re welcome.

  4. Joe on September 8, 2012 at 19:25

    steve = ELMM, now butthurt after Richard called him out.

    How’s the job search going, pal?

    • steve on September 8, 2012 at 19:42

      Rich knows i’m not elmm.

      But i’m sure the butt hurt feels fine.

      How are you doing, Buddy?

      • G Custer on September 8, 2012 at 20:07

        Why are you still here Steve? I thought you told yourself to fuck off? So go on then cunt, fuck off.

      • Joe on September 8, 2012 at 20:11


  5. Joe on September 8, 2012 at 20:13

    Richard, I think from now on you should summarily delete every comment that doesn’t include the word “fuck.”

    You fucktard. 😉

    • Richard Nikoley on September 9, 2012 at 00:18

      Alright. Haven’t checked comments in hours, was going to see how they would play on their own…

    • Richard Nikoley on September 9, 2012 at 00:19

      ….but Joe got me to come put and say Laf.

  6. Mandy on September 8, 2012 at 22:51

    Wow! That looks awesome!! I wonder whether I could get rillettes in Singapore too.

  7. EatLessMoveMoore on September 8, 2012 at 23:47

    What happened to ‘calories count’?

    • Richard Nikoley on September 9, 2012 at 00:37


    • Gene on September 9, 2012 at 03:42

      I thought that all he has to do is move a bit and it doesn’t matter what he eats.

    • Skyler Tanner on September 9, 2012 at 14:34

      Calories count but sometimes you have to say fuck `em. Nobody ever got fat in one day let alone one meal.

      • Richard Nikoley on September 9, 2012 at 14:47

        The calorie estimation was for the entire meal for two. I probably got 8-900, perfectly reasonable for an evening meal.

  8. dr. gabriella kadar on September 9, 2012 at 05:45

    In re: German Grandmothers and stuff they make: there’s also smoked mackerel mashed up with various ingredients including cream cheese and butter.

  9. rob on September 9, 2012 at 06:42

    When Fat Tuesday rolls around I’m going to hollow out an entire loaf and stuff it with fried oysters, it’ll be a Fat Tuesday Fat Bread Po’Boy

    • rob on September 9, 2012 at 16:51

      What you do with the part of the Fat Bread that you scoop out to make the Po’ Boy, you make some Fat Bread Pudding With Bourbon Sauce.

      • Richard Nikoley on September 9, 2012 at 17:01

        Y’all go with it, I want to see Fat Bread recipes beyond the bread part.

        I’ve been mulling over a biscuits & gravy. Should be pretty easy. Do the fat bread on a cupcake pan. Have done country gravy with coconut milk and country sausage, but I think I can do better.

    • Jessica on September 12, 2012 at 14:07

      You just made me think of this video about making an 18th century asparagus dish that left me drooling and longing for bread again:

      Gonna have to try it with the Fat Bread.

      • Richard Nikoley on September 12, 2012 at 18:47

        Not sure how that would work with fat bread but i sure enjoyed that video and it has to be really special for me to watch that long.

      • Jessica on September 12, 2012 at 21:02

        I’m not sure if it would work for fat bread either, but I may have to try some variation.

        So glad you enjoyed the video! I’m kinda addicted to all their videos. The 18th century cooking series is fascinating, educational and prone to making me drool, in spite of the prevalence of wheat in almost every recipe. Season 1 features videos on how to make things like salt pork & mushroom “ketchup”, cooking over an open fire and how to make an earthen oven. The topics are very thoroughly researched and the passion for what they do really comes through. Their advertisement videos for their products (and their products, I might add) are excellent, as well.

  10. steve on September 9, 2012 at 08:50

    Speaking of cunts,
    where has Nigel been?

  11. Karen C. on September 10, 2012 at 08:41

    This is a great idea for my skinny paleo kids. Would love more ideas as you play with these recipes.

  12. Jessica on September 12, 2012 at 14:01

    Duck Rillettes is really super-easy to make. I used the recipe in Martha Stewart’s cookbook, and added some cognac. Gods it was good. It needed something piquant to go with it though, so I served it with pickled (brined, really, no sugar added) beets, garlic dill pickles, and – best of all – pure horse radish!

    I used rice crackers back then, but now I have the Fat Bread! Which I made today (subbing cashews for macadamias since I couldn’t find raw macs locally, and didn’t want to pay the exorbitant price for ordering online). LOVE it! I had a real tuna melt with homemade mayo that also came out perfectly, thanks to you!

    • Richard Nikoley on September 12, 2012 at 14:14


      Happy to help when I can.

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