When I was telling you about the new book Basic to Brilliant, Ya'll, I mentioned that I planned to make the shrimp rillettes for Thanksgiving. Well, I did, and I’m so glad that I did. I made the fennel flatbreads too which was the option for making this basic recipe brilliant, and they were fantastic as well. After the shrimp were cooked and pureed with butter and cream cheese, the mixture needed to be chilled for at least eight hours, but a quick taste let me know we’d be in for something delicious. While the rillettes chilled in a covered ramekin, I set about making the flatbreads and learned a good lesson. After rolling out pieces of dough as thinly as possible, they were supposed to have been placed directly onto a baking sheet that had been brushed with olive oil. I somehow thought it would be a good idea to use a silpat brushed with olive oil and placed on a baking sheet as you can see in the photo below. The silpat prevented the flabreads from browning in the oven. So, then I did as I was told in the recipe and baked the next few directly on a baking sheet, and they were golden, crispy, fennel seed-flecked perfection.
To begin the rillettes, shallots were sauteed in oil with a bay leaf, and then peeled and deveined shrimp were added with some white wine. The shrimp were seasoned with salt and pepper and just cooked until pink. The mixture was transferred to a food processor and pureed with butter, cream cheese, lemon zest, and chives. You could then place the rillettes into individual jars for serving, but I placed the entire mixture into one ramekin and covered it with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface. The ramekin was chilled overnight, but it could have been made a few days in advance. The dough for the fennel flatbreads was quickly mixed in the food processor. Bread flour, sea salt, fresh thyme leaves, and fennel seeds were pulsed, and then cold water was added and pulsed until the dough formed. The dough was removed from the processor bowl and kneaded until smooth. Then, it was divided into ten pieces, and each piece was rolled out as thinly as possible. After rolling, each piece was sprinkled with salt and pepper and given one more roll with the rolling pin. To bake, the flatbreads should definitely be placed directly on a baking sheet that has been brushed with olive oil. They baked for about 20 minutes.
The flatbreads were fragrant from the thyme and fennel seeds, and they snapped easily into bite-size pieces to be spread with the rillettes. And, those rillettes were rich and decadent, and the wine and lemon zest added lovely flavor. This is an ideal item for a party since you’re required to make it in advance, and the flatbreads also store well for a few days. Once it’s served though, it disappears quickly.