It is always useful to have a recipe made up of ingredients you can have standing by in your sore cupboard and freezer.
Seafood Lasagne fits the bill for when you are very busy, or want to make something without having to pay a visit to the supermarket.
This recipe is from Delia's Happy Christmas. Serves 4-6
First of all spread the frozen shellfish out on a large plate with a double sheet of kitchen paper, and leave to defrost for 1-1½ hours.
Then slice the scallops fairly thickly into rounds, about 5mm thick. Now heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-size pan and cook the shallots with the garlic and chilli gently for about five minutes. Meanwhile, pull the squid tentacles away from the body and keep them in the fridge until later. Then cut the squid into 1cm rings. After that add the wine to the shallots, turn up the heat and let it bubble and reduce for about 10 minutes until it has almost completely evaporated, then add the tomatoes and cook for five more minutes until they soften to a pulp. Season well before stirring in all the shellfish (except the tentacles), and remove from the heat.
Now make the béchamel by placing the milk, butter, flour, bay leaf, about ¼ nutmeg grated, mace and seasoning in a medium-size saucepan over a medium heat, then, whisking all the time, slowly bring it up to simmering point until the sauce has thickened. Then turn the heat down to its lowest setting and let the sauce simmer for about five minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
Now you can assemble the lasagne, so spread a large spoonful of the béchamel over the base of the dish, then cover with sheets of lasagne, cutting them with scissors to fit the dish evenly, rather than overlapping them. Spread a third of the fish mixture over the pasta, followed by about a quarter of the remaining béchamel, then continue to layer everything, finishing off with a layer of pasta covered with the remaining béchamel sauce.
Bake the lasagne in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden-brown. When you remove it from the oven leave it to rest for 10 minutes, and while that’s happening heat 1½ tablespoons of olive oil in a small frying-pan, then add the squid tentacles and garlic and sauté gently for two minutes. Stir in the parsley and some seasoning and sprinkle this mixture (and all the juices from the pan) over the top of the lasagne before serving.
Note If you don’t have a fishmonger the best way to acquire frozen shellfish is to ask at your supermarket fish counter. Also, if you want to prepare the lasagne a few hours in advance, make the tomato mixture and béchamel while the fish defrosts and make sure they are completely cold before assembling the lasagne.