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Creamy Seafood Lasagna

Seafood Lasagna 1 small

We spent a chunk of time out in Tofino again this summer, something you may have noticed we do every year. (For those who’ve asked, it’s because my parents have property out there.) Their place has turned into something of a second home, one we can settle into for as much time as we can possibly manage at one go. We’re starting to leave shampoo and toothbrushes behind, as if we were in a new relationship that has comfortably evolved to the next level. And because we’ve been coming out for so long, we’ve gotten to know the locals, so to speak. We now have Tofino friends we see a couple times a year, and friends from home have started coming to visit while we’re out there. So really it’s like being home and away, the best of both worlds, which means we often invite friends over for dinner while on vacation.

And when we don’t have the house to ourselves, it’s full to overflowing (literally, with tents pitched outside) with siblings and cousins and nephews and their friends. (There were 14 for almost a week in late July.) We all pick up fresh baguettes and cherries and apricots and chunks and wheels of west coast cheeses to spread out on the counter and nibble from and bring to the beach. I love that we have such an extensive selection of Canadian cheeses so readily available – even out in a town of 1500 year-round residents, I can pick up not only Canadian, but made-on-Vancouver Island brie, cheddar, Gouda, raclette… you name it.

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Someone inevitably cranks out crepes (with whipped cream, if we’re lucky) in the morning, then DIY grilled cheese made with all kinds of Canadian cheeses and bits of pepper salami, leftover crab or sliced ripe avocado are common at lunch, and there are card tables to set up at dinner if we don’t go out for fish & chips. This year someone brought Solly’s bagels from Vancouver, which we ate thickly spread with Canadian cream cheese and topped with hot and cold smoked salmon. We’ve started making giant batches of what we now call Tofino poutine – roasted new potatoes loaded with grated Canadian aged white cheddar about halfway through their oven time, which we have discovered are equally suitable first thing in the morning and late at night, reheated and eaten by the forkful straight from the pan on the table. There are a few birthdays in August, and this year I decided to make a creamy seafood lasagna as the Something Special for our now 24 year old nephew.

Seafood Lasagna 3

Anything baked and gooily cheesy is fitting for feeding small crowds and for special occasions, don’t you think? Seafood lasagna seems appropriately indulgent, and well suited for out in Tofino, where we have access to all kinds of freshly caught local seafood. (But really, the seafood I used – whitefish, shrimp and scallops – aren’t difficult to find at home in Calgary, either.)

Seafood Lasagna 4

This is one of those dishes that seems totally out there – something you’d only order in a restaurant – until you make it yourself and realize it’s not a big deal, really no more complicated than homemade mac & cheese. If you can make your own white sauce – which it turns out is a perfect vehicle for gently cooking seafood – you can make a gooey, cheesy seafood lasagna.

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Most seafood lasagnas (you know when you say something over and over enough times it starts to sound weird? SEAFOOD LASAGNA) are creamy and Alfredo-like, and this is no exception. But we wondered at the table what a rosé version might be like, with a cup or so of tomato sauce added to the creamy sauce. I’ll report back soon with our findings – I’m thinking a warm pan of lasagna is going to fit the bill once schedules fill up and the days start getting noticeably shorter. (Also: it’s a perfect excuse to toss up an old-school garlicky, cheesy Caesar.)

Cheesy Caesar small

Another note on the subject of lasagna, seafood or not: it’s a great way to use up any number of creamy, meltable cheeses – we had Canadian aged cheddar, Gouda (we stopped at Gort’s en route), mozzarella and Parmesan in the fridge, and a chunk of local raclette we grated over garlic buttered crusty bread and toasted to go alongside. (Yes, those are upcycled hot dog buns.) If you’re not sure of the source, look for the 100% Canadian Milk symbol whenever you buy cheese – it confirms the Canadian origin of the milk (and the quality of the cheese), no matter where you are.

Garlic cheese bread

These types of Canadian cheeses tend to get along well together, and can be grated in a mishmash overtop, and even between layers if you like things extra cheesy (who doesn’t?) or want to mix things up, flavour-wise. Likewise, all kinds of seafood would do well here – I would have added crab if we had some on hand, and those on the east coast might want to add chunks of lobster.

Seafood Lasagna 12

Creamy Seafood Lasagna

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September 15, 2014

If you want to use no-boil lasagna noodles, go ahead – but you may need more sauce, as they absorb more in order to reconstitute themselves in the oven. If you have fresh lasagna sheets, even better – boil them according to their package directions, or use them as you would no-boil noodles.

  • Makes: Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

12 dry lasagna noodles

1 Tbsp. canola oil

¼ cup butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

¼ cup all-purpose flour

4 cups (1 L) half & half or 2% milk

½ lb (250 g) cod, halibut or other whitefish, cut into bite-sized pieces

½ lb (250 g) scallops, halved or quartered if large

½ lb (250 g) small shrimp, raw or cooked

1 cup freshly grated Canadian Parmesan cheese

freshly ground black pepper

2-3 cups grated Canadian Parmesan, Asiago, aged Gouda, aged white cheddar, or a combination

Directions

1In a large pot of salted water, cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, or until al dente. Run them under cool water in a colander to stop them from cooking.

2Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Once the foaming subsides, cook the onion for 4-5 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then stir in the flour. Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and cook for a minute or two, until the sauce has thickened.

3Add the fish, scallops and shrimp (if they’re raw) and cook for 2-3 minutes, just until they’re cooked through. Stir in the Parmesan and pepper – and the shrimp, if they’re already cooked. Remove from the heat and set aside.

4Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9×13 or similar sized casserole dish – one that will accommodate 3 lasagna noodles in a single layer – and spread about 1/4 cup of the sauce (try to leave out any chunks of seafood) in the bottom. Lay 3 cooked lasagna noodles overtop, then spread over about half the seafood mixture. Lay another 3 noodles on top, then the rest of the seafood mixture, holding back about ½ cup of the sauce (again, without much in the way of seafood). Lay the final 3 noodles on top, and spread with the reserved sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan, Asiago, Gouda, aged cheddar, or a combination.

5Bake for 1 hour, or until bubbly and golden. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

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20 comments on “Creamy Seafood Lasagna

  1. Rose
    September 16, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Hi Julie
    This recipe just MAY get me to make a lasagna. When I was in my twenties in the 1980’s it was all that EVER seemed to get served!!! it was lasagna, salad and maybe stuffed mushrooms if itwas really special. They were the typical red sauce, watery consistency, main course for gatherings. I love seafood and this looks so good that I may make it! I mean it! I will!

    • Eleanor Kenny
      May 17, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      Delicious with Swiss on top and Asiago in the sauce. Both Canadian too!

      • Julie
        May 17, 2018 at 4:50 pm

        Ooooh, yum!

  2. Jennifer
    September 16, 2014 at 9:37 am

    I have fond memories of living on Vancouver Island…always loved driving up to Ucluelet and Tofino!

    This lasagna looks amazing, thanks for sharing. Pinned to try this weekend!

  3. Lindsay
    September 16, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Yum, I never thought of doing a seafood lasagna, but this recipe looks mouth-watering amazing!

  4. CathyH
    September 16, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Damn! Wish I would have seen this before I made paella with shrimp and scallops tonight!!

  5. Annick
    September 17, 2014 at 7:54 am

    As nobody like fish at our place (except for fish and ship) and we try to eat it for diversity sake, I am always looking for new recipe. After the aforementioned fish and chips, the fish nuggets (or fish burger if I make big one), the St-Jacques shells and the vol au vent, I miss idea. Lasagna is always a hit, I’ll definitely try it!

  6. Frankie
    September 17, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Hot-dog-bun garlic bread! We did the exact same at a cottage this year…use what you have!

  7. Cathy D
    September 17, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    OMG. YUM. That is all.

  8. Doréus
    September 18, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Wait… you have leftover cheese? I am floored!

  9. Kris
    November 14, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Hi – we made this last night using salmon caught last summer instead of the white fish. Our only criticism is that we baked it uncovered, exactly as instructed and the cheese became a hard, overcooked crust. Just wanted to know if it should have been covered until the last 15 minutes perhaps? We used good quality cheeses by the way. The flavour of the noodles and sauce was terrific.

  10. Chris
    February 21, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    The sauce refused to thicken. It tasted good but it was soupy. I followed the recipe to the letter….

    • Julie
      February 22, 2016 at 9:42 am

      Oh no, sorry to hear it! I wonder what happened?

  11. Lucinda Abbott
    December 24, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Sweet! I’m in CA but we’ve got a cottage on Denman Island and go to Tofino when we can. Just looking for a simple seafood lasagne for Christmas Eve and after looking at so many rhatvcall foe bottled alfredo sauce, and odd ingredients, as happy to find this one! Thanks & merry Christmas.

    • Julie
      December 27, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      That’s so funny – did I mention in the post that I made it in Tofino? 🙂

  12. Linda C
    June 4, 2017 at 9:34 am

    the recipe ingredients list calls for 12 lasagna noodles, but the directions call for 4 layers of 4 noodles. I assume there is an error, but is it 12 or 16 noodles? And is it 4 layers of 3 noodles, 3 layers of 4 noodles or 4 layers of 4 noodles?

    • Julie
      June 4, 2017 at 8:15 pm

      ah, sorry. 3 noodles generally cover a standard lasagna pan, so it would be 4 layers of 3 noodles.

      • Linda C
        June 4, 2017 at 10:16 pm

        Thank you, Julie

  13. Sharon
    November 9, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    If I add scallops do I need to cook them first or do they just cook in the oven with the lasagna?

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