Makes 8 servings1 pound fresh steelhead trout filet, skin and bones removed
1 tsp ground star anise
2 tsp kosher salt or sea salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup minced shallots
1 tbsp crème fraîche, sour cream or yogurt
1/4 pound smoked trout, skin removed, broken up into small chunks
2 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup minced fennel frond or fresh tarragon
1/4 cup clarified butter or ghee
Trim and discard any dark flesh from the fish. Place the fish in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle both sides with the star anise, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Cover the dish with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes, turning the fish over halfway through the curing process.
In the bottom of a large pan fitted with a steamer insert, bring 2 inches of water to a simmer. Remove the trout from the baking dish and place it in the steamer. Cover the pan with a lid. Steam gently for 5 to 8 minutes. If you see steam pouring out the sides of the steamer, lower the heat. Check the trout by separating the flesh with the tip of a knife and peering at the centre. It should still be opaque (medium-rare). At this stage, gently transfer the fish from the steamer to a platter.
Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots have softened but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
In a small bowl, add the remaining unsalted butter. Beat the butter with a spatula until it is smooth and resembles mayonnaise in consistency. Stir in the crème fraîche; set aside.
Place the steamed trout in a large bowl and stir to break it into large chunks. Add the cooked shallots, smoked trout, lemon juice, oil, egg yolks, fennel fronds, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir gently to combine. Gently fold in the butter mixture. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary, keeping in mind that this will be served cold. (Seasonings become more muted with chilling.)
Place the mixture into eight individual serving containers, such as small mason jars, and tamp down to make sure there are no air pockets. Place the containers into the fridge to set for at least one hour. Top the surface of each container of rillettes with 1/2 tablespoon of clarified butter to seal the contents. Return the containers to the fridge. Allow the butter to set before placing the lids back on. To serve, let the rillettes sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes to let the butter soften. Serve with toast and assorted pickled vegetables. The rillettes will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.