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Sunday, 18 September 2011

Crab Lasagna with Blue and Ricotta Cheeses

I haven't cooked crab lasagna for a couple of years now and I am glad that I have here again. I think that there is room for manipulation in this recipe as long as the crab still has the opportunity to shine through. For example, I think next time I may try to make the tomato sauce a little lighter and sweeter by using blanched and skinned fresh tomato. In any case the component of this that has worked the best was the ricotta with lemon rind and blue cheese. The blue worked well as a background flavour and the lemon really refreshed the whole dish. Finally, if you can, try and make the lasagna sheets yourself, you end up with a much lighter result. I also think that some baby spinach or rocket added into the cooked tomato gear would be great. If you want this to taste better still, use twice the amount of crab - it will be expensive though...

V 2.0 Update
I basically followed this recipe however I made the tomato sauce the day before using a full bottle of passata. I used fresh crab and infused some of the shell and two fish frames into it and didn't add any sugar. I had some sauce left over after making the lasagne so I reduced the remaining tomato sauce, added 1 tbs sugar and some quartered cherry tomatoes and poured this over the top at the end. For the white sauce I also made 1 cup of bechamel to mix with the cheeses. Nice.

220 gms crab meat (I use Phillips Crab Meat)
1 handful chopped parsley
2 tsp garlic oil
Salt and pepper
1 tbs chopped fresh herbs (I used sage and thyme)
Olive oil
5 or 6 mushroom in small dice
2 shallots in fine dice (or 1 small onion)
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup white wine (I used Riesling)
1/2 bottle tomato passata
2 tsp sugar
500 gms ricotta
1 handful of basil leaves
Rind from 1/2 a lemon (more if necessary)
1 tbs chopped blue cheese (more if necessary)
1 bunch asparagus finely sliced, tips reserved
3 tbs oven roasted cherry tomatoes
Lasagna sheets
Grated cheese

Preheat an oven to 180C. Saute the onion, minced garlic and chopped herbs over a medium heat in some olive oil until translucent. When soft add the mushroom and saute until soft and with some colour. Add the wine and allow to absorb. When the wine is almost gone add the passata and reduce until quite thick. Mix in the sugar and check for seasoning.
Combine the crab, chopped parsley, salt and pepper and garlic oil.
Roll the basil leaves together and thinly slice. Combine the ricotta, lemon rind, some pepper, the sliced basil and chopped blue cheese.
Build your lasagna. Layer in some crab and top with sliced asparagus. Spoon over a generous amount of tomato sauce. Add a layer of lasagna sheets and top with a healthy amount of ricotta mixture. Repeat the layering process until you run out of gear finishing with a lasagna sheet and ricotta mixture. On the top layer scatter about the oven roasted cherry tomatoes and place the asparagus tips down the centre in a line. Top with the grated cheese of your choice (I use mozzarella and Parmesan). Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Check to see if it is cooked with a skewer (there should be no resistance) and serve with some nice bread and a garden salad.

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