I have returned to a savoury recipe for this month as asparagus is very much in season and I think this is somewhat unusual. You will all be familiar with recipes for a meat lasagne, but not too many folk make a fish based one.
When asparagus is out of season you can use leeks instead. Of course if you have a pasta machine you may care to make your own lasagne. My students used to do it all by hand as we only had the one machine for 14 students. It just requires a lot of rolling but is quite good fun and they all rated the taste very highly. Despite not having an ounce of Italian blood I taught Italian cookery for quite a few years, but did my research very thoroughly.
I will be returning to some sweet recipes as our lovely soft fruit season gets into swing.
- 50g. / 2ozs. butter
- 50g. / 2ozs. plain flour
- 1.2 litres / 2 pints milk
- small carton whipping cream
- ¼ – ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- 4 tablespoons chopped chives
- 75g. / 3ozs. grated cheese
- a packet of ready-to-bake dried lasagne
- 675g. / 1 ½ lbs. skinless salmon fillet, cut into large chunks
- 170g. / 6ozs. thin asparagus, cut into 5cm. / 2 inch lengths
- Heat the butter in a large pan, then cook the flour for 1 minute; remove from the heat. Gradually whisk in the milk, then the cream. Add a quarter of a teaspoon of nutmeg and the garlic, return to the heat and cook, stirring, until thickened and smooth. Simmer for 2 minutes, then season.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the dill, three tablespoons of the chives and 50g. / 2ozs. of the cheese. Check the seasoning, adding more nutmeg if you think it needs it.
- Spoon and spread a little of the sauce over the base of an ovenproof dish and arrange a layer of lasagne sheets, on top. Scatter over a little of the salmon and asparagus, followed by some of the white sauce. Continue to layer up, finishing with pasta topped with sauce. Sprinkle over the remaining chives and cheese.
- Freeze now or bake in a preheated oven at 200C / gas mark 6 / fan oven 180C from cold for 40 – 45 minutes until cooked through and golden on top.
- Tips: Sheets of fresh lasagne are more tender than dried. Fine asparagus tips can be used raw but if the asparagus is thicker it won’t cook in the time and will be too crunchy. Blanch thickened stems for 2 minutes in boiling salted water, then refresh under cold running water and dry on kitchen paper. To freeze tightly cover when cold with freezer film and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the fridge then bake as instructions above.