Advocate-Tested Recipe

Joanne’s Crawfish and Spinach Spread

Serves 10-12. Joanne Roberts makes this three-layered spread. The bottom layer is garlic-flavored cream cheese, over that, sautéed fresh spinach flavored with dried basil, and then sautéed crawfish over the top. Serve this on your favorite cracker or on thin slices of toasted French bread. Roberts makes the three layers ahead of time and refrigerates them separately. Assemble on the platter about 15 minutes before serving.

Cream cheese layer:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Spinach layer:

1 bunch fresh spinach, long stems removed, rinsed and well drained

2 cloves garlic, chopped

4 thin green onions

2 tablespoons olive oil or basil olive oil

2 teaspoons dried basil

Salt and black pepper to taste

Crawfish:

1½ tablespoons olive oil or butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pound of Louisiana crawfish tails, rinsed and drained

Salt and black pepper to taste

For assembly:

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Crackers or toasted French bread slices for serving

Garnish of fresh basil sprig or lemon slices if desired

1. In medium bowl, blend cream cheese with minced garlic and salt and pepper, to taste. Do not over salt because each layer will have seasoning. Cover and set aside until ready to assemble on platter.

2. In food processor, pulse well-drained spinach, garlic and green onions. Process until all is chopped but not mushy. Use “on” and “off” motion.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet and add the chopped spinach mixture. Add dried basil, salt and black pepper to taste. Quickly sauté until spinach is cooked, about 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from heat to cool, then drain very well by pressing out most of the liquid. Cover and refrigerate in small bowl until ready to assemble in platter.

4. In a skillet, heat olive oil or butter. Add garlic and stir until garlic flavors the oil, then add the drained crawfish tails, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer for just 2 minutes or until crawfish are well heated. Do not overcook. Remove from heat; cool thoroughly then cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble in platter.

5. 15-20 minutes before serving: Spread cream cheese in bottom of platter, top that with spinach and sprinkle crawfish over the top. I did not add all the juices from the cooked crawfish. You want the dish to be near room temperature when serving.

6. Garnish with basil sprig or lemon slices. Serve with crackers for French bread slices.