Seafood Lasagne

The fish filling for this dish cooks rather more quickly than a meat filling would, so you need to precook the lasagne for slightly longer than you would normally. It is also a dish which can adapt itself to suit your pocket and your fishmonger. I have served it as the main course at a dinner party using scallops, mussels, prawns and monkfish.

Cod or haddock would work well because they are firm-fleshed fish; whiting fillets would simply break up and go soft. Turbot or sole would be a treat, but I would hesitate to use such fine, delicately flavoured fish in this way. Oilier fishes, such as mackerel and herring, would not be as successful. Whatever I use, I always add some shellfish - prawns, mussels, scallops - for the extra flavour and slightly different texture.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz / 60 g butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 12 oz / 340 g lasagne sheets, dried, fresh or homemade
  • 2–2½ lb / 900 g-1.10 kg prepared fish and shellfish
  • pt / 850 ml thick bechamel sauce made with fish stock, cream or milk

Method

Butter very liberally a rectangular ovenproof dish. (I use an old, rough, glazed, deep earthenware dish which does the job perfectly.) Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, and add the salt and oil to stop the pasta sticking. Drop in the lasagne sheets, two or three at a time (not more, as they may stick together), and cook for 8 minutes if fresh, 6 minutes if freshly homemade, or according to the directions on the packet, plus 2 more minutes, if dried. Drain and set aside. Cut the fish into chunks of about 1 in / 2.5 cm. Dry very thoroughly, as most fish gives off quite a lot of liquid while it cooks.

Spread a few spoonfuls of béchamel sauce on the bottom of the prepared dish, and cover with a layer of lasagne. Put a layer of fish on the lasagne, and cover this with more sauce and another layer of lasagne. Continue until you have used up all the fish and all the lasagne. You may like to keep the different fish in separate layers or mix it all together. The top layer should be the last of the béchamel. Cook towards the top of a preheated oven at 200°C / 400°F / Mark 6 for 30–40 minutes, until brown and bubbling on top. Serve at once.