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Cafe Terra Cotta Shrimp Stuffed with Herbed Goat Cheese

Source: Cafe Terra Cotta, Tucson, Arizona

This recipe has been on the Caf? Terra Cotta menu since the day it opened and has become a signature dish. The key to its popularity is probably the cream cheese mixed with the goat cheese, giving the stuffing a milder taste than all goat cheese.

The sauce in this dish is simply our basic Fresh Tomato Salsa recipe, cooked down to the runny state the French call a coulis.

Serves 4.

1 pound large shrimp (16-20 per pound), butterflied *
4 ounces goat cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cream
 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno chile
Juice of 1 lime

* To butterfly the shrimp, remove all but the last section of shell; cut deeply along the outside, cutting almost but not all the way through. Remove the vein near the outer edge. When the shrimp cook, the tail end will curl up.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the shrimp until barely firm, about 2 minutes. Remove and cool slightly.

Mix the goat cheese, cream cheese, garlic, cream, and half the cilantro together and season with salt and pepper. Pipe the cheese mixture onto the butterflied part of each shrimp with a pastry bag, or spread it on thickly with a knife.

Turn the oven to 400 degrees F and return the stuffed shrimp to bake for about 3 more minutes, or until the meat is opaque.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet and cook the tomatoes, covered, until they exude their juice, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining cilantro, jalapeno, and salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste. Cook, uncovered, until the moisture has almost evaporated, leaving just enough for a runny texture.

Spoon the tomato coulis onto warm plates and serve the stuffed shrimp on top.

Variation: These shrimp may also be served room temperature as an hors d'oeuvre.



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