Salmon Spinach Lasagna

28Sep09

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One of the foodie groups I belong to was doing a lasagna competition for fun. I wanted to participate, but I didn’t have the skills, the tools, the training, or the experience that most of the others had. I’ve had lasagna a few times, and I like it. But it doesn’t even have a minor role in my personal food memories. I don’t have any emotional attachment to it, and it doesn’t fit into my concept of “comfort food.” But then again, maybe that could work to my advantage. Anyway, I do love a challenge. : )

I have a MacGyver approach to cooking: Make It With What You Have. This is what I had: Frozen Salted Salmon, Fresh Spinach, and lots of Gyoza Wrappers. I was also able to scrounge up some grated parmesan and just 100 grams (less than 1/2 cup) of ricotta, some pesto sauce, and dried dill weed.

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To be on the safe side (I wasn’t sure how much I’d need), I made two cups of white sauce using 2 tablespoons of butter, 2 tablespoons of flour, and a cup of milk per cup of sauce. Added about 2 teaspoons of dried dill weed to the white sauce. No added salt, as there was plenty of saltiness in the other ingredients.

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To prep the salmon, I rinsed the defrosted salmon filets with sake and laid them, without overlapping, in a pyrex pie dish. Sprinkled them with a little more sake and some dried dill weed, covered the dish with plastic wrap, and cooked it in the microwave at 500W (that’s High for my oven) for 5 minutes. Some of the thicker parts of the fish were still raw-looking, but I let it just sit covered for another five to ten minutes, and by then it was all cooked through. That way the fish doesn’t get overcooked and dry.

I removed the bones and skin and broke up the pieces of salmon. Then I coarsely chopped the pieces of fish with a knife, including the skin (which I love). I stirred in some of the white sauce to give it cohesion.

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To prep the spinach, I blanched it using the leafy vegetable setting on my microwave. Gently squeezed the excess moisture from the blanched spinach, chopped it, and folded two tablespoons of pesto sauce into it for flavor without compromising the bright green color.

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Then I put the ingredients together. I don’t have a lasagna dish, and even if I did, it wouldn’t fit into my oven, since it’s only just big enough to hold a 9-inch pie dish. So I lightly oiled a pyrex pie dish, spread a little of the cream sauce on the bottom, and laid out seven circles of gyoza wrappers so that they overlapped a little with each other. I spread 1/2 of the spinach mixture over that, and dotted it with 1/3 of the ricotta cheese. Laid more gyoza wrappers over that, taking care to shift the circles so that they weren’t directly in line with the ones below. Spread 1/2 of the salmon mixture on that layer, dotted it with 1/3 of the ricotta cheese, and drizzled a little more white sauce over that. Laid more gyoza wrappers over that, spread the remaining spinach mixture and dotted it with the last 1/3 of the ricotta cheese. Laid the final layer of gyoza wrappers over that. Spread the remainder of the salmon mixture over that, and the last of the white sauce over the salmon, and finally sprinkled the top with 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese. That makes a total of four layers, alternating between green and pink (I’m a fan of colorful cooking). I used a total of 28 gyoza wrappers.

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I baked the “lasagna” in a 180 C (350 F) degree oven for 50 minutes. After taking it out of the oven, I let it sit long enough for the ingredients to settle and cool almost to room temperature before I cut it into wedges for serving.

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It was very very good. Whether it was a lasagna or not is for others to decide.

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