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Featuring Featuring Tabasco and Scotch Bonnet
Crawfish "Head Cheese" and Cured Foie Gras with Savory SablÚs and Confit of Homegrown Tabasco Chiles
and Heirloom Tomatoes

by Johnny Earles
Criolla's, Grayton Beach, FL
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: Serves 20

For the head cheese:

2 sheets gelatin
1 1/2 cups rich crawfish (or other seafood) stock
3 ounces unsalted butter
12 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped scallions
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh lemon thyme leaves
1/2 cup late-harvest Gewürztraminer
1 Teaspoon freshly ground allspice
2 pounds fresh Louisiana crawfish tails, cooked and peeled
1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, washed, dried, and chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
Creole red pepper to taste (substitute 1 part cayenne and 1 part paprika)

For the foie gras:

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
1 Teaspoon Scotch Bonnet powder
1 lobe foie gras, cleaned
1 pound pink salt

For the savory sablés:

1 whole egg, beaten
400 grams unsalted butter
20 grams kosher salt
40 grams glucose
800 grams sifted all-purpose flour

For the Tabasco chile and heirloom tomato confit:

6 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped heirloom tomatoes
3 fresh Tabasco chiles, seeded and chopped
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
Salt to taste

To make the "head cheese," first place the gelatin in 1 cup of lukewarm water and let sit for 2 minutes. Drain and squeeze out the excess water. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the gelatin sheets, allowing them to dissolve.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the garlic for 3 minutes. Add the scallions, thyme, wine, and allspice. Sauté for 3 minutes more, making sure that none of the ingredients burn, and remove from the heat. Transfer to a mixing bowl, and add the crawfish tails and the parsley. Mix well and add one cup of the gelatinized stock. Season with salt, black pepper, and Creole red pepper. Line a terrine mold with plastic wrap. Pour a small amount of the remaining stock into the mold and gently spoon in the crawfish mixture a little at a time. Fill any spaces between the crawfish with stock. When the terrine is filled, top with the remaining stock and cover with more plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

Mix together the cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and Scotch Bonnet powder. Sprinkle the spice mix over the foie gras. Wrap the foie gras in cheesecloth, making a tight cylinder of approximately 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle half of the salt in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place the cylinder on top of the salt and cover it with the remaining salt. Refrigerate for 14 to 16 hours. Remove the foie gras from the salt and place it in the freezer for one hour before serving.

For the sablés, cream together the butter and the egg in the bowl of a mixer. Add the salt and glucose and mix until combined. Add the flour slowly to the butter mixture and continue to stir for about 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill at least 6 hours. Roll out the dough on a floured surface. With a sharp knife and a ruler, cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch squares and bake at 350 degrees F. until light brown in color.

To make the confit, combine the tomatoes, chiles, olive oil, salt, and sugar in a roasting pan. Roast at 300 degrees F. for about 45 minutes, watching to make sure they don't burn. Take the tomatoes and chiles from the pan, put them in a glass bowl, and stir in the tarragon. Cover the bowl and refrigerate.

When you are ready to serve the dish, lay out the sablés on a platter. Run a sharp knife around the sides of the terrine and turn it out onto a plate. Remove the plastic wrap. Cut the terrine into quarters lengthwise and slice each quarter into 1/2 inch slices. Place a teaspoon of confit on top of the crawfish. Remove the cheesecloth from the foie gras. Using a sharp cheese knife or vegetable peeler, thinly slice the liver into curls. Place the curls on top of the confit and serve the sablés immediately.


These recipes were provided by participating chefs and have not been tested by The James Beard Foundation.