Café 5 Recipe: Chef Sarah Grueneberg’s Smoked Fish Rillette and Onion Confit

Chicago Restaurant Week officially kicks off at First Bites Bash Thursday with a feast of delicious flavors at Navy Pier.

Held in the Aon Grand Ballroom from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., admission includes tastings from more than 60 of Chicago’s most celebrated chefs and restaurants paired with a variety of beverage partners.

Sarah Grueneberg, Chef/Partner of Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio, will host this year's celebration, from which a portion of the proceeds benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Grueneberg stopped by Café 5 Tuesday to share one of her favorite recipes and preview the event. See the full recipe:

Smoked Fish Rillette and Onion Confit Recipe

By: Chef/Partner Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio

Makes around 12, 2 oz servings (1 ½ quarts)

Smoked Fish Rillette

  • 2 lbs Smoked white fish
  • 1½ cups Onion Confit (see below)
  • ½ cup Mascarpone Cheese
  • 1 cup Onion Confit Oil (see below)
  • ¾ cup Sour Cream
  • 2 TBSP Chopped Chives 

Before starting, make sure all of your ingredients are very cold. First make the onion confit (below).  

In a large mixing bowl mix the fish, mascarpone and onion confit without mashing the fish.  The fish will break up naturally as you mix, so you do not need to force it. 

Once incorporated, drizzle in the confit oil, little by little folding in and mixing (similar to how you would make a vinaigrette). When fully added, fold in the sour cream and chives. 

Chill for an hour before serving to set the flavor and slightly stiffen the rillette. To serve, spread on crackers or toasted bread. 

To Prepare the Onion Confit

  • 2 Medium Onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBSP salt
  • 2 Cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 bay leaves 

Place onions, salt, olive oil and bay leaves in a medium saucepot over low heat. Allow to cook approximately one hour until the onions are very tender. 

Remove onions from the oil and discard the bay leaves. Reserve the oil for the recipe. 

In a food processor, pulse the onions until it has a jam consistency. Avoid pureeing completely, there should be small pieces of onion. Chill both the oil and the onion confit before preparing the rillette. 

The 10th annual Chicago Restaurant Week begins Jan. 27, offering customers prix fixe menus over the course of two weeks. For a list of participating restaurants, and all other information on the official kick-off event, please visit

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