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How to make potted salmon

Simple and delicious, classic potted salmon with some warm toast makes an ideal starter or lunch, plus it's portable, so perfect for a picnic. Like a chunky salmon pâté, this version is flavoured with nutmeg, cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce, and sealed with homemade clarified butter. Master this easy picnic recipe, which is delicious spread on toast, in just six simple steps. Don't forget to jot down (or screenshot) the ingredients list at the bottom for your next shopping trip.

  1. Sterilise the jars

    Start by sterilising 6 x 200ml heatproof jars – Kilner jars or jam jars with a resealable lid work well. Wash them in the sink with hot, soapy water and rinse clean. Dry in the oven for 1 hr at gas 1, 140°C, fan 120°C. Set aside. Once cooled, grease each jar with butter.

    Sterilise the jars
  2. Cook the salmon

    Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over a high heat. Add 600g salmon fillets, skin-side down to start with. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 mins on each side. Cover the pan and cook for a further 1 min. Turn off the heat, but leave the fish in the pan for 5 mins (it will continue cooking in the residual heat).

    Cook the salmon
  3. Melt the butter

    Melt 150g unsalted butter in a small pan over a low heat. Once melted, continue heating for about 8 mins, until it turns slightly darker in colour and the white milk solids rise to the surface.

    Melt the butter
  4. Season the fish

    Meanwhile, peel off and discard the salmon skin. Scatter ½ tsp nutmeg, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, 5 drops Worcestershire sauce and a little seasoning over the fish, then flake with a fork. Discard any stray bones.

    Season the fish
  5. Clarify the butter

    Pour the butter into a jug through a muslin-lined sieve to catch the milk solids (these can be discarded) – this is called clarifying. Pour half the liquid butter over the flaked salmon and return to a low heat. Warm through for 5 mins, stirring occasionally.

    Clarify the butter
  6. Jar and seal

    Divide the fish between the jars, then pour over the remaining clarified butter to form a seal. Chill for at least 4 hrs, or for up to 3 days.

    Jar and seal
  7. Garnish and serve

    To serve, scatter each pot with a pinch of cayenne pepper and enjoy with sliced lemon and toast, if you like.

    RFO Hero 636x418 PottedSalmon

  8. Delicious spins

    Trout and fennel seeds: Use skin-on trout fillets in place of salmon, cooking as instructed in step 2. Omit the nutmeg and cayenne pepper in step 4 and use 1 tsp crushed fennel seeds and 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill in their place. Pot up and garnish with a few sprigs of dill. 

    Crab and tarragon: Swap the salmon for 625g cooked crab, skipping step 2 and the first part of step 4. Replace the nutmeg and cayenne pepper in step 4 with 1 tbsp each chopped tarragon and grated lemon zest. 

    Smoked mackerel and horseradish: Replace the salmon with 625g smoked mackerel fillets and miss out step 2. Swap the nutmeg for 2 tsp creamed horseradish.

  9. Ingredients

    We've prepared a simple shopping list so you can easily get all you need to make this picnic favourite. Be sure to note down the ingredients or take a screenshot before heading to the shops.

    150g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
    1 tbsp olive oil
    600g salmon fillet, skin-on
    ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
    ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, plus extra to garnish
    5 drops Worcestershire sauce
    lemon slices, to garnish (optional)
    toasted bread, to serve (optional)
    6 x 200ml heatproof jars

    Each serving contains

    • Energy

    • Fat

      34g 48%
    • Saturates

      15g 73%
    • Sugars

      0g 0%
    • Salt

      0.3g 5%

    of the reference intake
    Carbohydrate 0.6g Protein 20.5g Fibre 0.1g