Type: MAIN COURSE
Suitable for: scallops, peeled shrimp, chunks of Giant Prawn or Lobster-Tail meat, firm skinless (tilapia, red snapper, ocean perch, pangasius, whitefish). Cut thick filets into small serving-size pieces.
One of the main attractions of eating seafood is the wealth of low-fat recipes available for this naturally low-fat food. There comes the time, however, when having a lush, creamy recipe is just the ticket for a special occasion or special company. Feel free to mix fish and shellfish; remember that pieces will cook more evenly if they are all the same size.
SCALLOPS require a bit of previous preparation, which will shorten final cooking time and provide stock for the creamy sauce. Cut very large scallops in half.
Melt a small amount of butter to coat bottom of skillet. Add scallops and keep heat low. This lets scallops release extra liquid which would dilute sauce. Cook for 5 minutes or until scallops stop releasing juice rapidly. Drainpartly-cooked scallops and reserve liquid for sauce.
MUSHROOMS benefit from the same advance preparation and their liquid can also be added to the sauce.
Heavy-bottomed 2-3 quart saucepan
Wire whisk, for sauce
Large flat-bottomed baking dish
2 ½ lb. scallops, prepared as above
Or equivalent amount of fish or shellfish (one kind or mixed)
1 ½ lb. mushrooms, in large pieces, lightly sauted (add any juice to sauce)
3 Tbsp. butter
1 garlic clove crushed or minced
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups fish/shellfish stock
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup dry white wine or ½ cup dry sherry
1 cup grated fresh swiss, gruyere, gouda, or other nutty-flavored cheese
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, rosemary, or tarragon leaves or 1 tsp. dried Salt
Melt butter in saucepan. Add garlic and simmer till clear. Add flour, stirring and continuing to cook for 2 minutes (keep heat low, to remove floury taste without browning).
Add fish stock, scallop juice, mushroom liquid, wine and herbs, stirring till sauce is very thick. Keeping heat low, add cream and half the cheese. Stir till incorporated into sauce.
Taste sauce, adding a little salt if needed, correct other seasonings.
Pour a layer of sauce in bottom of dish, add a layer of seafood and mushrooms, repeat, coving with a top layer of sauce.
Sprinkle 2nd half of grated cheese over the top. Bake, uncovered 30 minutes, till sauce is bubbling, cheese melted and seafood just done. Decorate with herb-sprigs before serving, if you like.
For a large crowd, double sauce recipe, use 2 casseroles, and serve over rice.