Although my passion/obsession is cooking and creating new recipes and menus there are times that we do head out to enjoy the restaurants we have in the area.
Living in Sarthe (department 72) we have a number of reasonably good restaurants, but of course we have a favourite restaurant, ours is in Lavardin (41), Le Relais d’Antan, it is worth the 40 mins drive to the restaurant. It is one of those places that you feel very well looked after, the food and service is fantastic.
I enjoyed a birthday dinner there one year and we had the fabulous Langoustine Lasagne the chefs special. As such I had to try and recreate the dish as I wanted to enjoy over and over again.
The recipe below is my take on this wonderful dish, with my tweaks as I use various fish/sea food, to be honest you can use any combination of fish and sea food, it is your choice. Its a good idea to go and visit your fishmonger and see what is on special, you can also use smoked fish, as I do sometimes, but ensure you poach the smoked fish last or you will end up with everything tasting of smoked fish, not really the best result for this dish.
Once you have your selection of fish then you can get started.
Serves 4, prep time : 1 hr, cooking time : 30 mins
250g piece of trimmed fresh salmon
250g trimmed fresh white fish (haddock, cod, pollack etc.)
150g crevettes **
1 baby leek, blanched and cut into 1in-long batons
1 large carrot, cleaned and cut into 1in-long batons
1 small courgette, cleaned and cut into 1in-long batons
125g grated Gruyere 400ml fish velouté
3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
7g unsalted butter
500ml white wine
½ litre fish stock
½ litre double cream
To make the velouté: Cook the shallots in the butter until soft, without any colour.
Deglaze the pan ( to dislodge any flavoursome brown bits stuck to the pan sides from the sautéing) with the white wine, boil and reduce to a syrup. Add the fish stock, boil again and reduce by half. Add the double cream, return to the boil and simmer for 5-8 minutes to reduce to a coating consistency. Pass through a fine sieve. Chill and cover with clingfilm if not using immediately.
To make pasta sheets:
200g plain flour
Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle. Crack the eggs into the flour and mix together to form a dough. Take the dough out of the bowl and kneed for a couple of minutes until it is smooth. Cover with cling film and put in the fridge to rest for 20 mins.
To make the fish lasagna : Take the pasta out of the fridge and kneed gently, cut into 4 pieces and roll out slightly, then start to work through a pasta machine, taking down to the lowest point. Lay the sheets out on a floured surface to dry. When all the sheets are ready, cut the lengths into individual sheets ready for cooking.
Put a large pan of water on to start boiling, add the sheets of pasta a few at a time for 2-3 mins until they start to float, remove from the water onto a plate with baking paper to drain. Continue with the pasta sheets until you have all that you need to make the dishes, you will need 4 sheets per person.
Trim the pieces of fish, ensuring that any skin, bones and the brown bloodlines have been removed. Cut the fish into evenly sized pieces. Clean the crevettes, removing the head and hard shell.
Heat the fish velouté in a wide, shallow pan; gently poach the pieces of fish in the velouté until just cooked through, work in batches to ensure your fish has the room to cook. Remove from the pan and place in a dish. Drop the crevettes into the pan, and cook until they are just cooked, this should again only be a couple of minutes. Add the batons of leek, carrots and courgette and heat for a minute, remove to the dish. Everything should still be hot.
Take your plates from the oven ready to start building the lasagna, start with a little of the sauce and vegetables, then a pasta sheet and then some fish and some more sauce, continue until you have used the 4 sheets, and finish with some nice crevettes on top.
Serve immediately with crusty bread.
**Note You can use fresh or cooked crevettes, the cooking time is the only difference, if you are using raw crevettes, clean them as before, removing the heads and hard outer skin and when cooking they will change from grey to pink. Do not over cook the crevettes as they will become tough. Remember the crevettes will continue to cook once you have removed them from the cooking sauce, so remove them when they have just turned pink. If you are using cooked crevettes, you are only heating them, so they will only need about 1-1.5 mins to warm them through, again be vigilant as they are easy to overcook.