It’s 25℃ outside, I’m embalmed in factor 50 suncream and I’m craving my favourite pasta dish. I’m a big fan of traditional lasagne (tomatoes, beef mince, mozzarella etc), but at this time of the year, it may be a bit too comforting and, dare I say it, heavy.
So, to satisfy my craving, a visit to my local fishmonger prompted me to make a Seafood Lasagne, surely a lighter version than normal, and not quite as decadent as the classic one.
I bought some lovely thick fresh cod loin, Shetland salmon, king prawns and fresh crab (I said it would be lighter, not cheaper!), but if you’re going to make something nice, make sure it’s the best you can do.
The fish and prawns are combined with a bechamel sauce enriched with a mixture of brown and white crab meat.
The crab gives the whole dish a richness without the use of cream or cheese (apart from a sprinkling of parmesan over the top).
Raw king prawns are best to use, (frozen are fine) as the ready cooked ones tend to go rubbery during the time in the oven.
I also add a head of broccoli, cut into small florets and blanched for a few minutes. This gives a bit of texture and colour to the lasagne, as well as tasting great.
Served with a crisp green salad and a chilled glass of white wine (a South African Chenin Blanc is superb), this is the perfect lasagne for a summer’s day, especially when you have a craving to satisfy!
350g cod loin, skinless
300g skinless salmon fillet (thick pieces)
450g raw king prawns
1 dressed crab, brown and white meat
Extra white crab if you can get it, or a tin of quality white crab meat, drained.
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
300g lasagne (dried is fine, but use fresh if you prefer)
75g plain flour
Approx 600ml whole milk
Grating of fresh nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
White pepper (a few grinds)
Small glass of white wine
75g freshly grated parmesan
First, make the bechamel sauce.
Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour. Over a low to medium heat, whisk them together to make a thickish paste (roux).
Cook gently for a couple of minutes to remove the raw flour taste - it will start to smell a little ‘biscuity’.
Add the wine, then the milk in stages, whisking all the time to prevent lumps. Don’t fret if it seems to get very lumpy, just take it off the heat and whisk vigorously until smooth.
When you have a thick, smooth and glossy white sauce (add more milk if it’s too thick), add salt and pepper, nutmeg, cayenne and simmer for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
Fold in the crabmeat - about 2-3 tablespoons of brown, and about 3 tablespoons of white. You can use less or more crabmeat, so it’s essential to taste and check the consistency of the sauce as you go along. A squeeze of lemon juice can give the sauce a freshness, although I don’t like too much, but just keep tasting until it is correct for your palate.