seafood lasagna

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My sister reads my blog, more because she likes me than because she likes cooking.  She doesn’t hate to cook; but she has a full-time job, two toddlers, and the normal allotment of hobbies, friends, and family to balance.

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I try to keep her in mind when I need perspective, so I don’t say things like “this extra step is worth the effort.”  It’s all relative.  It’s worth it to me, sure, but I like cooking enough to have a blog about it.  What’s worth the effort for her is very different than it is for me.

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For example, my sister would not make this lasagna. This lasagna is a lot, a lot, of effort. It was worth it to me, sure, not just because the lasagna turned out amazing and it made enough food for a week, but because I had all kinds of fun making it.

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There are a whole lot of components. A béchamel sauce, which is no problem. The seafood mixture – crab legs steamed in the oven, scallops sautéed on the stove, shrimp that was supposed to be poached, but instead I sautéed them quickly on the stove after the scallops. Cheese needs to be grated and shredded, spinach needs to be cooked, dried, and chopped (I never like the frozen blocks). Fresh pasta needs to be made (or purchased, I suppose, but man, that’s a lot of money for what are actually very cheap ingredients). Only once all of that is finally prepared can the ingredients be layered and baked.

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The end product was so, so good. There are so many flavors all supporting and enhancing each other. The seafood wasn’t overshadowed by the other rich ingredients. The sweetness of the scallops stood out, as well as the salty ocean flavor of the crab. What’s more, we ate two dinners worth of leftovers, plus several lunches. (I was surprised by how well it reheated, but by slightly undercooking the lasagna the first time and then heating individual portions in the oven on low heat just until hot, the seafood didn’t overcook and the top didn’t burn.) All in all, it was a lot of effort, but I had fun and I made delicious meals for almost a week. One might even say that it was worth all the effort. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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One year ago: Salmon Clubs with Avocado Butter

Seafood Lasagna (adapted from Foodie Bride, who adapted it from the Food Network)

Serves 10-12

If you’re as stubborn as I am about frozen spinach (too stemmy!) and purchased fresh pasta (too expensive!), you can find preparation instructions for both of those ingredients here. (You’ll want to make half the dough recipe and all of the spinach.) The only change I’d consider making to this recipe for next time is cutting the scallops into smaller pieces. As it was, there were occasional bites of pure scallop, which isn’t as fun as scallops + other lasagna goodness.

Seafood mixture:
3 king crab legs
1 tablespoon butter
12 ounces scallops
12 ounces shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
freshly ground white pepper

6 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
6 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
1 ounce (½ cup) grated parmesan cheese
freshly ground white pepper

Cheese mixture:
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 ounce (½ cup) grated parmesan cheese
freshly ground white pepper
8 ounces grated Mozzarella cheese

8 ounces lasagna noodles, cooked and drained

1. Cook the seafood: Preheat the oven to 350F. Form a large foil pouch around the king crab legs. Before sealing tightly, add ¼ cup water. Heat in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove the pouch from the oven and carefully open it to vent the steam. Let it cool for a few minutes, then crack the shells and place the meat in a medium bowl. Lightly shred any large pieces but don’t overshred.

2. Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. Place them in the pan and cook, without stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Flip the scallops and cook on the second side until browned, another 3-4 minutes. Drain the scallops and place them in the bowl with the crab meat.

3. Add the shrimp to the same pan (no need to wash or even rinse) used for sautéing the scallops. Cook, stirring occasionally, just until the shrimp are opaque, 5-6 minutes. Place them in the bowl with the crab meat and scallops. Add a pinch of salt and some white pepper, them toss to mix.

4. Make the béchamel: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook until very fragrant, but don’t let the garlic brown (about 3 minutes). Whisk in the flour and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add the milk, whisking continuously. Cook an additional 4-6 minutes, stirring frequently and taking care that the bottom does not scorch. Remove from heat and whisk in salt and pepper to taste and ½ cup (1 ounce) of Parmesan cheese.

5. Make the ricotta filling: Mix the spinach, ½ cup (1 ounce) Parmesan, ricotta, egg, all of the mozzarella, salt, white pepper, and 1 cup béchamel in a bowl until thoroughly combined.

6. Assemble: Spread 1 cup of the béchamel sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles in the pan and spread half of the ricotta-spinach mixture over the noodles, covering completely. Top with ½ cup béchamel. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles in the pan and add all of the crab-shrimp-scallops, spreading to distribute evenly. Sprinkle half of the remaining parmesan cheese over the seafood layer and top with ½ cup béchamel. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles in the pan and spread the remaining ricotta-spinach mixture over the noodles. Top with ½ cup béchamel. Add the remaining 3 lasagna noodles, remaining béchamel, and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top.

(A simple breakdown of the lasagna structure: sauce, noodles, ½ of the cheese mixture, sauce, noodles, all of the seafood, ½ the remaining parmesan, sauce, noodles, the rest of the cheese mixture, sauce, noodles, the rest of the sauce, the rest of the parmesan.)

7. Place in the oven and bake until bubbly and golden, about 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

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  1. This looks insanely good.

  2. I am not one to resist ridiculously complex dishes, but this looks crazy! That said, it also looks so delicious I sort of want to lean in and sniff the monitor. And possibly lick it.

  3. Looks gorgeous! I bet it it tasted fabulous. I need to keep this in mind the next time I want a super impressive pasta dish!

  4. Wow. I can’t even tell if there was any low-level snarkiness 🙂 But I really really really want to make this. Maybe as cannelloni instead? I find those easier for some reason.

  5. This looks fabulous! Definitely worth the effort.

  6. This looks so good! I’ve never had the pleasure of eating seafood lasagna before, but this looks delicious enough that I feel like I’ve been missing out.

  7. This looks like an insane amount of work, but I’m sure it’s worth it! I remember when either Gourmet or Bon Appetit published a recipe for the world’s best lasagne and it involved making about 6 different components. I was too overwhelmed to attempt it, but someday I need to try branching out from the typical red sauce-dried pasta lasagna I always make!

  8. I know I keep saying this, but your photography is just stunning. So clear and bright and crisp!

    Last summer I ate lasagna and the next day I had the stomach flu for 7 weeks, so unfortunately I can’t eat it anymore…too many bad associations. 🙁 And get this – my friends are moving, and her dad is a lobster fisherman. She gave me 8 pounds of frozen lobster meat…and I gave it away.

  9. Sara L says:

    Did the snarkiness originally have something to do with me? Your right that I probably wouldn’t make this, but it’s more because I have some weird texture issues with seafood lately. I used to love shrimp but now it makes me gag. I don’t mind complicated recipes as long as the results are worth the effort and I can split up the tasks over several days so I don’t get overwhelmed. Tamales are a case in point – make red chile sauce one day, meat one day, masa one day and finally assemble.

  10. Ah, as a seafood lover, I say there’s never too much of an effort you can make for a dish as divine 🙂 Maybe instead of steaming crab you can use surumi crab? KIDDING! (but hey, that’s still real seafood!)

  11. This looks like a great recipe for a special occasion. I know my boyfriend would love it!

  12. This looks so delicious! I love good seafood dishes.

  13. !!! Bookmarking this for a special occasion !!!
    Looks unbelievable… and I love bechamel sauce. I sort of want to swim in a giant pool of it.

  14. Rachel says:

    Looks just as good as I remember, this has been on my list of to-dos for a while… maybe this fall (my husband would kill me if I turned on the oven more than I already do) when it is NOT so hot!! I’m so glad to know you found it worth the effort, I feel like the complicated recipes give me more satisfaction… as long as they are TASTY!

  15. good night–that looks so decadent!! yum!

  16. Wow!! This dish looks incredible. I have a hard enough time getting regular lasagne right so this would be a real challenge. Worth it though!

  17. Lonon says:

    Wow I’ve been looking for this recipe for so long but I could never find one or even one with pictures that made me want to try it but this one is a winner it looks and sounds awesome, Bon Apetite!!! Thanks!

  18. Jenny says:

    I’m going to try this recipe next week….with some modifications… I won’t make my own pasta. It sounds great!

  19. Timmo says:

    I’ve been looking for a good seafood lasagna recipe that uses homemade pasta and bechamel sauce…this one is close. Somehow I’d also like to introduce a bit of sherry flavor, like an old-fashioned Lobster Newburg.
    I just made a lasagna bolognese last week, which is even more involved than this one, so the complexity doesn’t scare me. The meat sauce for the bolognese took 6-7 hours to cook!

  20. Love, Love, Love, this recipe for the seafood lasagne!!

  21. Brenda Minogue says:

    This really wasn’t all that difficult and absolutly delicious! Lemon sour cream pie was a perfect dessert to this dish. Thank you for such a treat to make and eat 🙂

  22. Adrian says:

    I made this for my husbands birthday as well and it was amazing! As a teen bride it was a lot of work compared to the meals I usually make but it came out perfect. Will be making it again 🙂 thanks for the recipe!

  23. Sherri Harding says:

    It’s in the oven as I write this…I substituted almond milk, no butter, and used very little cheese. I used plain yogurt with shredded smoked salmon and spinach with a bit of mozz. (yummy and sweet and mildly smokey) I can never just make a recipe…always adding or substituting something. (( ;
    Thank you for the inspiration!

  24. By far the best seafood lasagna I have ever made! I made sure to not overcook it and I’m thinking that I will freeze individual portions for other meals. that makes it much more affordable in my mind. but it was a great New Year’s Day meal!!!

  25. Kristen says:

    Can you cut this recipe in half ?

  26. Kristen – Absolutely! Just use a smaller pan. It doesn’t need to be exactly half the size of a 9×13. An 8-by-8-inch pan should work fine.