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Posts Tagged ‘bechamel’


After the crab cakes and spicy crab pasta, I wanted to make a version of crab imperial I saw on Saveur. I changed it quite a bit, and it really became more dip than main course. I will definitely be trying something like this again because it’s one of the few dips that doesn’t use sour cream or cream cheese, two things I hate. (I know, I’m weird) Surprisingly, this dip doesn’t have any cheese, but the bechamel sauce gives it a richness that might make you think it does.

Crab imperial Dip

1/2 pound crabmeat

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon flour

3/4 cup heavy cream

1.5 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce

1/4 cup Sherry

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Juice of half a lemon

1 shallot, minced

1/4 cup finely chopped eggplant

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon minced thyme

In a little olive oil, saute the shallot, garlic, and eggplant until it becomes soft, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in thyme and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, combine the flour and butter and let cook until it browns a little and becomes the consistency of wet sand. Whisk in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper. Allow to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the crab, Sherry, Worchestershire, half the panko, paprika, cayenne, and sauteed vegetables. Stir to combine. Add the lemon at the last second and pour into baking dish. Top with the panko and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until browned on top. Let cool a little before eating.

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I love making lasagna when I’m going to have people over because I can hang out with people instead of standing over the stove the whole night. It’s also just great comfort food, and it makes me feel better whenever I’m a little down (almost as much as a delicious grilled cheese, especially when it’s made for me….). I’ve made roasted carrot and butternut squash lasagna and regular meat lasagna but mushroom lasagna is the most likely to make everyone happy. And it’s just so delicious and surprisingly easy to make. Who doesn’t love a good make-ahead pasta?!

Mushroom Lasagna

2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup Marsala wine (you can substitute Sherry or any other wine, but Marsala is best)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

2 cups milk

1 cup chicken stock (substitute vegetable stock to make it vegetarian)

2 cups grated Italian fontina

1 cup grated parmesan

1/2 cup diced fresh mozzarella

1 cup basil leaves

1 package lasagna noodles

1 tablespoon truffle butter (optional)

Butter a lasagna pan and pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook the lasagna noodles in salted, boiling water about half the time specified on the package. They should be pliable but not cooked through. Remove to a sheet tray with some olive oil so they don’t stick.

Saute the mushrooms, onion, and garlic in a frying pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add the rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Once everything has softened, deglaze the pan with the Marsala. You can leave a little liquid and turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, combine the butter and flour in a sauce pan and allow to brown. It will start to look like sand. Add the milk and whisk together. Add the chicken stock and allow to thicken. You want it slightly thick but not so much that you can’t pour it. Add the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Add half the parmesan and stir to combine and melt.

Start to layer the lasagna with a layer of noodles, then a layer of the mushrooms and then a layer of the bechamel sauce. These should be thin layers. Add a sprinkle of the fontina cheese and a couple basil leaves.

Continue with the layers until you use everything up and make sure to finish with a layer of pasta. I like to reserve a little bechamel to pour on top so that the top layer stays nice and soft. Sprinkle with the remaining fontina, parmesan, basil and the mozzarella. If you would like, you can add some pieces of truffle butter to the top to help it brown and enhance the mushroom flavor.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until it starts to brown on top and get bubbly. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes before eating so that they layers can cool a little and set up.

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