I think the frequent recurrence of rissoles in this column of late reveals more about me than about French cuisine. When the weather turns too cold for me to go outside and fry myself, I come inside, and fry other things. Two weeks ago, it was summer fruit wrapped in puff pastry—a very conventional rissole. This week's shrimp and sorrel leaves wrapped in filo dough are about as unorthodox as the day is long—although, admittedly, with winter crouching towards us, the shorter days may not be the best yardstick.
I began a somewhat torrid love affair this summer with sorrel. As they say, the most important ingredient in any fiery relationship is mystery—and sorrel held that for me. It started at culinary school, where the chef conjured up salmon and a creamy sorrel sauce to match. My first question was, "Why do we always use lemon?" Sorrel speaks with the same acidic accent, but in a language far more grassy, earthy, and velvety.
Rissoles, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, are like beignets or doughnuts, only they're usually made from puff pastry instead of choux pastry, and then fried deeply golden. I don't use puff pastry here, but I wanted to borrow the idea of layers by wrapping the jumbo shrimp up in crisp blankets for the fall season. First comes a leaf of sorrel—that acidic, verdant wrapping paper that sneaks surreptitiously into the mix—and then I mummify the tail-on shrimp in layers of filo dough brushed in olive oil. Fry away until each succulent, snappy rissole looks like it arrived in the parcel post, and then serve it with a chunky, pungent artichoke aïoli.
What I love about this dish is that it is pretty much a pantry meal. It uses a whole list of ingredients that I absolutely always have: frozen shrimp, frozen artichoke hearts, filo dough, olive oil, mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon.
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 12 8-12 count shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
- 12 sorrel leaves
- 12 sheets filo dough
- Olive oil for brushing the filo dough
- Artichoke Aïoli
- 1 clove garlic
- 4.5 ounces thawed frozen artichoke hearts (1/2 packet)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- Zest and juice 1/4 lemon
Fill a cast iron skillet halfway up with vegetable oil. Bring to 330°F.
You will make 4 stacks of filo, 3 sheets thick. Lay down 2 sheets of filo, brush thoroughly with olive oil, and place the final sheet on top. Cut into 3 equal strips. Then season the shrimp with salt. Place a shrimp on the edge of 1 strip of filo dough, leaving a slight border. Place the sorrel leaf on the shrimp, and then wrap in the dough, tucking in corners as you go. Repeat for all 12 shrimp.
Fry the shrimp in 3 batches, 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towel, and sprinkle with salt.
Meanwhile, make the artichoke aïoli. Pulse the garlic in a mini food processor until it is smashed to smithereens. Then, add in the artichoke hearts, and pulse to rubble. Add the mayonnaise and lemon zest and juice, and some salt. Then pulse to a chunky paste. Serve the rissoles hot from the oil, with some of this cool aïoli.