Monday, February 27, 2012

Seafood Lasagne

As part of Heidi's big fun surprise birthday weekend, Emma and Rachel came into town and after an afternoon of cocktails and shopping, we had dinner and cake at the Tiki.

I whipped up this seafood lasagne the night before and kept it in the refrigerator until an hour before we were ready to eat.  This is a perfect dinner party entree.  It is luxurious and flavorful but not heavy.  It is based on an old recipe from the Silver Palate.  Since the original recipe called for clams and mussels, and Heidi doesn't care for them, I substituted lobster and extra crabmeat... simply amazing!

The trick to not overcooking the seafood in this dish is to poach the seafood briefly in the pasta water before boiling the pasta.  Then the seafood is cut into chunks and mixed with a Tomato and Tarragon cream sauce.  YUM.

Poached seafood ready for chopping...

I love to serve this with hot buttery garlic bread and a simple green salad on the side.

Seafood Lasagne
Serves 8-10

For the Seafood Filling:
16 oz. ricotta cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 10z. package chopped frozen spinach thawed, and squeezed dry.
1 egg
1 cup diced red pepper
3 scallions chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 lb lump crab meat
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl combine all ingredients except crab, mix together with a wooden spoon.  Gently fold in crabmeat, season with salt and pepper.

For the Seafood Sauce:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp dried tarragon
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb. scallops
1/2 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
1/2 lb lobster tail
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high.  Add onion and cook until tender.  Add fennel and tarragon and cook 30 seconds.  Deglaze skillet with sherry.  Add tomatoes and garlic.  Cok 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until thick.  Add cream and season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat.

In a large pot of salted boiling water, poach the shrimp and scallops for 1 minute, remove from water and drain.  Add Lobster and cook for 4 minutes.  Remove shell from lobster.  Cut all seafood into large chunks. Add to tomato sauce and stir in fresh basil.

1 Tbsp butter
8 sheets dried lasagne
1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly.
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 350F

Generously butter a 9x13 rectangular lasagne pan.  Boil pasta in hot seafood poaching liquid until al dente.  Drain and rinse under cold water until cooled.

Spread 1/4 cup seafood sauce (without seafood) in bottom of prepared pan.  Cover with a layer of pasta, then spread half of the seafood filling, top with 1/2 seafood sauce.  Top with 1/2 lb sliced fresh mozzarella.  Repeat layering.  Do not put a layer of pasta on top (it becomes too dry and tough in the oven).  Sprinkle 1/2 cup parmesan cheese over top seafood sauce layer and mozarella.  Bake 30-40 minutes until bubbling.  Allow lasagne to rest 15 minutes before serving.

 Before Baking..

And bubbling hot from the oven!

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