Traditionally I’ve done a hearty pie for New Years Day, but this year I went off the norm. I found this seafood lasagne (a la Delia) and decided that it was worth a punt for a New years day dish. I pre ordered my fish at Christmas from Haymans fisheries and collected it on New years eve eve. Although I’m sure you can get the frozen fish from any supermarket.
250g frozen raw tiger prawns
200g frozen shelled cooked mussels
200g frozen scallops
175g frozen squid
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
165ml dry white wine
175g ripe tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
200g fresh lasagne sheets (which can be frozen) seasoning
For the Béchamel :
50g plain flour
1 bay leaf freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground mace
1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed squid tentacles
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
You will also need a baking dish measuring 18x23cm, 5cm deep, buttered.
First of all spread the frozen shellfish out on a large plate with a double sheet of kitchen paper, and leave to defrost for 1-1½ hours. Then slice the scallops fairly thickly into rounds, about 5mm thick.
Now heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-size pan and cook the shallots with the garlic and chilli gently for about five minutes. Careful not to burn anything! Meanwhile, pull the squid tentacles away from the body and keep them in the fridge until later. Then cut the squid into 1cm rings.
After that add the wine to the shallots, turn up the heat and let it bubble and reduce for about 10 minutes until it has almost completely evaporated, then add the tomatoes and cook for five more minutes until they soften to a pulp. The smell is how you want food to smell, homely, the reaction with the wine evaporating changes the very wet texture rapidly. Season well before stirring in all the shellfish (except the tentacles), and remove from the heat.
Now make the béchamel by placing the milk, butter, flour, bay leaf, about ¼ nutmeg grated, mace and seasoning in a medium-size saucepan over a medium heat, then, whisking all the time, slowly bring it up to simmering point until the sauce has thickened. Then turn the heat down to its lowest setting and let the sauce simmer for about five minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. It felt like this step took forever, as you really didn’t want it to go wrong, but don’t worry it will work if you keep stiring.
Now you can assemble the lasagne, so spread a large spoonful of the béchamel over the base of the dish, then cover with sheets of lasagne, cutting them with scissors to fit the dish evenly, rather than overlapping them. Spread a third of the fish mixture over the pasta, followed by about a quarter of the remaining béchamel, then continue to layer everything, finishing off with a layer of pasta covered with the remaining béchamel sauce.
Bake the lasagne in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden-brown. When you remove it from the oven leave it to rest for 10 minutes.
This lasagne was not your average lasagne. The béchamel sauce works beautifully with the fish. My fish cost me £17, but everything else was in my house, it maked 6 servings, but I would say it’s worth it for a party of friends on a special occassion.