Crawfish and Potato Gnocchi with Ghost Pepper Cream

Ben Thibodeaux

This the gold winning recipe from the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience in the Seafood category.


Ingredients for Gnocchi:2 ea Idaho russet potatoes (about 1 lb)1 C grated parmesan cheese1 large fresh eggkosher saltcayenneall purpose flourolive oilequipment:  potato ricer or food mill Ingredients for Sauce:1lb. fresh Louisiana crawfish tails1 clove minced garlic½ C sliced and washed leeks, half moons1 Qt heavy cream1 oz. ghost pepper caviar (from Cajun Caviar Co.)kosher saltcoarse chopped Italian parsley1T olive oil 


Gnocchi Directions:Gently wash and dry room temperature potatoes and bake at 350° in a pre-heated oven for about one hour.  Potatoes should be cooked through and fork tender. While potatoes are still hot, peel and rice into a clean, dry mixing bowl. Add cheese, egg, salt and pepper to taste. Mix with hands gently until incorporated. Dough will be slightly damp. Add just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to your fingers. It is very important not to add too much flour as this will result in tough dumplings, nor should you over work the dough. Allow dough to rest about five minutes covered with a dry cloth. In a large pot (about 3 gallons), bring 2 gallons of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 4 equal portions, keeping those not in use covered with a dry towel. Using your hands, roll the dough into a long cigar shape about 3/4 inch in diameter. Measure and cut each dumpling to about 1 inch. Gently pinch towards the center, not from the cut sides. Transfer dumplings to a lightly floured sheet pan being careful to lay them out in a single layer. Repeat with remaining dough until done. Make an ice bath using a large bowl or container. Make sure there's enough ice to keep the water very cold in order to stop the gnocchi from cooking immediately. Working in small batches of 10-15 dumplings at a time, gently blanch the dumplings. They will float to the surface when ready.  Transfer to ice bath and allow to cool thoroughly. Repeat until all the dumplings are cooked. Strain in a large colander, gently shaking off excess water. Transfer gnocchi to a clean dry sheet pan and cover with a dry towel. Sauce Directions:Begin by draining crawfish tails being sure to reserve all liquid and fat. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil, garlic and leeks. Sauté for about 2 minutes or until leeks are tender but not browned. Add reserved crawfish fat and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add heavy cream and reduce by half, being careful not to let the cream boil over the pan. If necessary, lower the heat slightly. When sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, add crawfish tails and gnocchi. Toss to coat and heat through about 3 minutes. Add caviar off the heat and gently stir to evenly distribute. Serve and garnish with chopped parsley.

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