Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lasagna with Cod & Zucchini

There is no sugar coating this one. This recipe is "heavy".

It's absolutely rock-solid and amazing but the CC only recommends making this if you have like 8+ guests who are dining. Seriously. We're talking small portions because of the sheer heft of this recipe.

This recipe is great for making ahead of time. When your guests arrive, just pop it in the oven and let it bake while you enjoy a nice de-stressing cocktail. It also really helps if you've made the tomato sauce ahead of time.

It's heavy on the prepping time and the oven time so you might want to make it in the waning days of summer when the ingredients are in copious supply and it's not so hot that you want to kill yourself.

Now that the negative juju's are out of the way, this recipe is killer. And heavy. And a heavy-killer!

So onwards and upwards.

There are just five components here all easily available or made in summer — cod, zucchini, tomato sauce, béchamel, and herbs. The CC will not judge you if you use commercial lasagna sheets. In fact, they might even be preferable since it's summer and this is not a delicate dish.

The steps are classically Italian. Waste not, want not. Each step goes back into the previous step to enhance the dish and waste nothing of the flavors acquired so far.

Why not step back right now and try and guess the recipe like a crossword puzzle?


package of lasagna sheets

1 large piece of cod
3 zucchini (cut into large rounds)

4 cups tomato sauce
fresh herbs - rosemary, thyme, oregano

1 cup milk
4 anchovies
1/2 cup flour

2 cups parmigiano-reggiano

olive oil

black pepper


Take 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce and add water and bring to a boil. Poach the cod in it till medium done and lift out. Flake the flesh in a bowl and separately strain the broth. Discard the solids and reserve the broth.

Meanwhile reheat the tomato sauce with the fresh herbs. Set aside. It should be thick and glossy so that you can layer it with the lasagna.

Heat up some olive oil in a pan and fry the zucchini. Do it in batches until they are limp and have given up most of their moisture. This is important. If you do not do this, you will have a very soggy lasagna. You can bake it but it's simply not the same. Set aside.

Make the béchamel sauce. Pre-heat the milk in a pan. A microwave works great here. Heat up some butter in a pot. When bubbling, add the flour and let it fry at a medium heat until it is golden in color but not dark brown. Add the anchovies and let it fry a little. Add the hot milk and stir. When the milk is fully denatured, add the fish broth from the cod above and let it reduce to a thick sauce. (If you add it earlier, the milk will curdle.)

Assemble the lasagna. Grease the dish. Add the sheets to the bottom. Layer it with the zucchini, the flaked cod, topped with the béchamel; then more sheets; then with the tomato sauce; then more sheets. Keep repeating the layers until you use up everything. Top with some tomato sauce and the cheese.

Bake covered in a 400°F for 20-25 minutes and then uncover. Bake for an additional 10 minutes till the top is browned.

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