Divine Decadence

Everyone remembers Sally Bowles referring to her green finger polish as “divine decadence” in the musical Cabaret. It could define a number of other things, mostly illegal I suspect, but none more accurately than the cuisine of New Orleans. As an ex-pat of that fabled city, I often get nostalgic for its spell, and the easiest way to shed my Big Easy blues is food. I often cook Creole dishes, especially for dinner parties. Granted, my guests are sometimes taken aback by the richness of the meals, but, like Paula Deen says, you’ll be fine as long as you don’t eat like this every day. Friends who are watching their weight have learned to either check their diets at the door or let me know when they’re ready to splurge and fall way off the wagon. In my culinary repertoire, there’s no such thing as low-calorie, no-fat, sugar-free New Orleans cooking. What’s the point, y’all? It would be like a Mardi Gras parade without the beads and music.

Can you imagine a Mardi Gras parade with no music?

Can you imagine a Mardi Gras parade with no music?

Case in point is my shrimp cheesecake with a roasted red pepper coulis. This is a Creole extravaganza I culled and improvised from several other dishes, and as they say way down on the Mississippi Delta, “I’m here to tell you it’s some kinda good.” It’s also the richest, most scrumptious and most divinely decadent thing I’ve ever concocted. If reading recipes makes you gain weight, stop right here. If you’re ready to throw a party in your mouth, the recipe follows.

Shrimp cheesecake, right outta the oven!

Shrimp cheesecake, right outta the oven!

Michael’s Shrimp Cheesecake with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

Crust: 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 cup Panko bread crumbs, 1 stick melted butter.

Filling: 2 tablespoons good olive oil, 1 cup chopped onion, ½ cup chopped red bell pepper, ½ cup chopped green bell pepper, 1-2 tablespoon Creole seasoning (more means saltier), couple dashes each Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 28 ounces softened cream cheese, 4 eggs, ½ cup heavy cream, 1 cup shredded smoked Gouda, and a pound of peeled, deveined raw shrimp.

Combine crust ingredients and press into bottom of a 9” springform pan. Heat oil in large skillet and sauté onion and peppers on high heat a couple minutes. Add shrimp, seasoning, sauces and juice and cook two more minutes. Set aside. Beat cream cheese and eggs with mixer until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add cream and Gouda and dump into shrimp mixture. Beat a couple minutes until smooth and thoroughly mixed. Pour filling into crust and bake at 350° for one hour or until center doesn’t wiggle. Cool to room temp, cut into eight slices and serve atop a generous puddle of coulis.

For the coulis, you’ll need a couple tablespoons good olive oil, 2 cups of roasted red peppers (I like Mezetta grown here in the Napa Valley), 2 chopped shallots, ½ cup white wine, ½ cup chicken broth, ½ cup sour cream. Saute peppers and shallots in olive oil until soft, stir in wine and broth, and simmer until reduced by half. Pour into blender, add sour cream and puree until smooth. Can be made ahead and reheated.


Every bite is like a party in your mouth.

Every bite is like a party in your mouth.

The combination of savory cheesecake and slightly sweet coulis is killer and makes a gorgeous presentation. Is it really divine decadence? Have a taste of this baby and let me know!





  1. Linda
    Apr 8, 2014

    My Lord, that sounds good! And having sampled some of your other dishes, I’m sure this is every bit as good as it sounds. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  2. Yves Fey
    Apr 8, 2014

    Sounds divine!

  3. Liz
    Apr 9, 2014

    Good grief! Sounds amazing, Michael. Even though it’s only 9 a.m., you set my taste buds to tingling. I’ll look forward to experiencing this delectable dish during my next visit. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  4. Scott
    Apr 12, 2014

    I had no idea that you could combine shrimp and cake. I suppose that fine and authentic Creole cooking can certainly negate such concerns, given the Trifecta of proteins, carbs and fats. My son’s favorite meal is Cajun Shrimp Linguine. Served with a topper of extra pepper flakes and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I will try it! Thanks! Comforts Appétit!

  5. David
    May 3, 2014

    Sounds good but taste even better. My wife and I had the pleasure of enjoying this wonderful dish as part of a dinner celebration at Michael’s home in Petaluma. Ummm good!

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