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Bits and Pieces

Stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else.

3/20/07 -- A kick-ass seafood lasagna:  

Red Sauce:
1 can Hunt's 4 Cheese Spaghetti sauce (yes, the can; we like it)
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
5 tbsp. chopped fresh basil (set aside for assembly later)
Spinach Layer:
1 lb fresh baby spinach
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cheese Sauce:
1 lb. part-skim ricotta
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
chopped onion, a good handful (I got big hands)
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. Penzeys Fox Point Spice mix (Penzeys does some great mixes)
Seafood Layer:
1 lb. shrimp, cleaned, shelled, deveined (medium-size)
1 lb. scallops, washed & dried
1/2 lb. salmon filet or steak (or more, if you'd like)
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. oil

1 lb. lasagna noodles, uncooked  --  1/2 cup grated Romano  --  1 cup shredded Swiss

Place Cheese Sauce ingredients in blender, blend till smooth, do not refrigerate.

Combine Red Sauce ingredients in a bowl, RESERVING THE BASIL FOR LATER, stir well.

Coarsely chop the shrimp and scallops into half-inch chunks, cut salmon into 1 inch chunks. Heat 1 tbsp. each butter and olive oil in heavy skillet, add shrimps, season with S&P, cook until just pink. Remove from pan, add another 1 tbsp. of oil and butter, and cook the scallops till just done, remove to a separate bowl. Spray the pan with cooking spray and do the salmon. 

Saute the spinach with the oil and garlic, and immediately assemble the lasagna.

Drizzle some of the red sauce in the bottom of the lasagna pan, smooth it out to cover, layer it with all of the basil. Place a layer of noodles to cover, then spread a thin layer of cheese sauce. Dot this with the shrimp, mix in some of the salmon. Cover with another layer of noodles, then add a layer of red sauce, the sauteed spinach, and half the romano cheese. Add another layer of noodles, a layer of cheese sauce, and then the scallops, and the rest of the salmon. Cover with noodles, cover lightly with the remaining cheese and red sauces, then sprinkle on the Swiss cheese.

Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 45 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

A fair amount of work, but worth it. I just came up with this about a year ago, and it's one of our favorite "special" dishes for company. The separate layers seem finicky, but really make a nice discovery as you cut and eat. Be sure your ricotta isn't too cold, or the blender blades will just blow a hole in the cheese and not blend properly.

 

9/9/06 -- The Pork and Onion recipe: Pre-heat your oven to 350. Take a piece of pork loin. Size doesn't really matter, I've done this with everything from a pound-and-a-half tenderloin to a 10 pound pork loin roast, so pick the right piece for your needs. Do NOT use a pork shoulder, yuck. Use a nice loin portion. 

Take at least two large onions (large like the size of a baby's head); more if you have a bigger roast, and slice them pretty thin, just make thin rings, don't chop it up. The Cuisinart 2 mm disk works fine. When I did that ten pound roast I used six big onions, and it wasn't enough, so plan accordingly. 

Take the pork and brown it on all sides: get some olive oil and a little butter hot in a big skillet and just flop the sucker around, and brown it all up.  Now pile the onions into the skillet all around the pork, and do them up. Add a little salt and pepper at this point. Get the onions nice and tender, but not brown. 

Then pick up the pork and drop it in a roasting pan. (The turkey recipe I adapted this from originally said to leave everything in the skillet, cover it,  and let it go. I did that the first couple times, then I needed to make a big honking roast for 8 people...and quickly adapted to the idea of roasting the pork instead. Works just fine.)

Arrange the onions around the meat (i.e., dump 'em in there around the meat), and then add chicken broth almost to the top of the onions (be sure to use plenty of onion!). Add more salt and pepper. Cover and place in oven for about two hours: the broth keeps the meat from drying out, and the onions get all creamy. Serve with mashed potatoes, and be happy. 

 

 

Copyright 2008 Lew Bryson. All rights reserved. 
Fee required for reprints in any commercial media.
Revised: March 20, 2007