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Author Notes: I'm crazy for crawfish. They have a unique rich flavor all their own, they're far less susceptible to becoming overcooked and rubbery like shrimp, and they're affordable. They're also sustainable and while mostly farmed, unlike salmon and shrimp they are extremely sensitive to overcrowding and harmful bacteria forcing their aqua farmers to keep their ponds clean. Most Chefs do not differentiate between farmed and wild caught especially when ordering frozen tailmeat and the prices reflect little difference as well.
Most everyone loves cheesecake. But it's a rare treat when we find a savory cheesecake.
So now we have a cause! Let's tell all of our favorite chefs we want more crawfish dishes and we want more savory cheesecakes! —David
- 4 8 ounce packages cream cheese
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup pecan pieces
- 4 eggs + 1 additional egg white
- 2 cups crushed buttery crackers (ritz)
- 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and quartered
- 2 tablespoons Sweet Marsala
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups onion diced
- 3/4 cup red bell pepper diced
- 3/4 cup celery diced
- 2 roma tomatoes, fresh and ripe or canned, peeled, seeded, diced
- 1 teaspoon creole seasoning (I use a homemade version of Emeril's essence but Zatarains is fine)
- 1 cup rich crawfish, shrimp or lobster stock
- 1 cup heavy creme
- 1/2 cup fine dice andouille sausage (already cooked)
- 1 pound crawfish tail meat
- 3 shakes tabasco
- 2 shakes worcestershire
- 1 pinch chipotle powder (or cayenne)
- 1 cup shredded smoked gouda
- 1/2 cup chives, chopped
- Open cream cheese, place in mixer bowl and allow to come to room temp. Toast pecan pieces in dry skillet or oven and coarsely chop. Melt 1 stick of butter and combine with crushed crackers, pecans and one egg white. Press this mixture into the bottom of 9 inch springform pan. Bake crust at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
- In a medium skillet melt 2 T butter, add mushrooms and one grind each of sea salt and black pepper. Cover and sweat for 5 minutes. Uncover and evaporate most of mushroom liquid. Add marsala, stir and then let all liquid evaporate from skillet. Pull off heat and set aside.
- In a large deep skillet melt remaining 6 T butter and then add flour to make a roux. Stir and cook until lightly colored (5-10 minutes). Add onion, bell pepper and celery and stir and cook until roux is golden in color (another 5-10 minutes). Add tomatoes, stock, creole seasoning, and creme. Stir occasionally and reduce by about 1/3 of liquid. Add mushrooms, crawfish and andouille and stir for 1 minute. Take off heat and add tabasco, worcestershire and chipotle powder. Allow to come to room temperature. (can refrigerate briefly if you want to speed the process)
- In mixer stir cream cheese until very soft and loose. Add eggs 1 at a time counting to 15 before adding each one in succession. Add Smoked gouda and stir until just combined.
- Remove mixer bowl. add 1/2 of crawfish mixture to cream cheese and gently fold in. Add to springform pan and bake for about 1 hour (until firm) at 350. Allow to come to room temp. and then chill for at least 2 hours. To serve all ow cheesecake to come back to room temperature, unfold, slice and serve with a warm(but not hot), generous spoonful of crawfish mixture and a sprinkle of fresh chives.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Spicy Recipe