This dish comes from the menu of Christian's Restaurant, although it's been quite a few years and I'm not sure if they still serve it. It's still mighty good, though, and quite rich. You can vary the amount of cayenne pepper to suit your own palate; be careful not to overdo it, but the cream will help take the bite off it somewhat.

Heat the cream with the stock or water, then add the cheese and brandy and bring to a boil. Stir in the roux and simmer for 15 minutes; keep warm.

Heat the butter in a skillet, then add the finely chopped onions, garlic, bell pepper and celery. Sauté for about 5 minutes until soft, translucent and fragrant. Add the crawfish, salt, thyme, red and black peppers. Cook uncovered for about 5 minutes, then mix in the cream sauce.

Divide the crawfish mixture into four small gratin dishes, then top with more grated Parmesan cheese. Place under the broiler for a minute or so until the top gets slightly browned and bubbly, and serve immediately.

YIELD: 4 servings.


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Chuck Taggart   email chuck (at) gumbopages (dot) com