Seafood Gratin

I have a major thing for lobster.  I would say my feelings for lobster are on par with my feelings for chocolate.  Whenever we’re at a nice restaurant that is fit to serve great lobster and it is mentioned while the specials are being read, my brain shuts down.  My choice is made – lobster it is.  This year for Valentine’s Day I learned how easy it is to make lobster at home (easy!) so I was ready to do more with it.  This dish combines lobster, shrimp and cod pieces in a rich, flavorful cream sauce baked with a seasoned bread crumb topping.

Certainly more expensive and decadent than our average meal, I have had this earmarked in my mind for the occasion of selling our house.  I’ve been waiting for months to try this dish but it did not disappoint.  It received rave reviews from everyone who tried it and I think it really is the perfect entrée for special occasions.   This was ideal for entertaining because I did all of the prep and assembly (minus the breadcrumb topping) early the day of our party and just refrigerated them until I was ready to bake them.  It was very convenient.  A reader mentioned this would be a nice dish for Mother’s Day and I think that sounds like a wonderful idea.  Think Andrew can learn his way around the kitchen in time?

Seafood Gratin
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Yield: about 6 servings
1 cup clam juice
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup plus 3 tbsp. white wine, such as Chablis, divided
3 tbsp. tomato puree
1 lb. raw shrimp (26-30 per lb.), peeled and deveined
8-10 oz. raw cod, cut into 1-inch chunks
10-16 oz. cooked lobster meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. pepper
2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and green parts
1 cup peeled, shredded carrots
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine the clam juice, cream, white wine and tomato puree in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and add the shrimp.  Let cook 1-2 minutes, the flip over and cook the other side until pink and opaque.  Remove to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon.  Add the pieces of cod to the stock mixture until just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.  Remove to the same plate with the shrimp using a slotted spoon.   (Once the shrimp have cooled enough to handle, cut in half if desired and return to the bowl.)  Add the cooked lobster to the bowl.

Continue to cook the sauce until reduced by half, about 12 minutes.  Combine 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small bowl with the flour and mash together with a fork.  Whisk the butter-flour mixture with the salt and pepper into the sauce and continue to simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

In a medium sauté pan melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.  Add the leeks and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.  Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of wine and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes more.

Add the cream sauce and cooked vegetables to the bowl with the seafood and toss to blend well.  Divide the mixture between individual gratin dishes.  If not baking right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

When you are ready to bake the gratins, preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Place the filled gratin dishes on a baking sheet.  Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a small bowl.  Add the Panko, parmesan, parsley and garlic to the bowl and toss with a fork to combine.  Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the prepared gratins.  Bake 20 minutes, until the top is browned and bubbling.  Serve hot.

Source: adapted from Smells Like Home, originally from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten

33 Responses

  1. It looked absolutely wonderful when you first posted the picture, but now that I know the ingredients…oh yum! Clam juice, wine, tomato, cream & leeks?! It’s got to be great.

  2. I like seafood in each version! This looks great!

  3. I need to eat this right now!! We made your enchiladas last night, sorta, with leftover chicken from your fajitas which we had the previous night. They were incredible! Chicken gyros are also a fave of ours now. I will always love the Food Network’s website, but if I want something delicious I have started coming here first!

  4. Wow, this looks amazing! I love me some seafood!

  5. Seafood heaven, my husband would love this.
    Congrats again on selling the house! My husband and i are going through the same thing. Definitely not a sellers market right now… =/

  6. Annie this looks amazing. You mentioned you learned how easy it is to cook lobster, any chance you would like an excuse to make it again? I’ve really wanted to see a nice way to prepare it at home!

    • Kate, I do plan to post about that eventually but I may wait a while. Lobster seems the classic thing people make around New Years and Valentine’s, but not often enough in between. If I see good deals on lobster before then (or win the lottery), I’ll post sooner 🙂

      • could you at least tell us how to cook the lobster for this dish? or do you buy it already cooked?

      • Leslie, you can cook it a variety of ways. Try Googling for ideas. Steam it, broil it, or buy it precooked.

  7. YUM!! I want this, no I NEED this now 🙂 Seafood makes a great breakfast, right?

  8. Lovely. This looks so delightful. I love lobster as well and this is a beautiful way to serve it.

  9. This gratin looks fabulous!!

  10. Hi Annie! I just love your blog and was compelled today to write in because I too have a major jones for lobster and would use any excuse to eat it. In this case, I would cook it too. Thanks for passing along the great recipes! I’m always impressed with your food and photography! 🙂

  11. thank goodness it’s lunch time, or else this would have my belly hurting with desire. Not that my regular old lunch is going to quench it…

  12. Yum, Yum, Yum…I’ve seen Paula Deen do a version of this dish too, and I’ve always thought it looked so decadent!! I’m glad you finally had a good excuse to make it!!

  13. I made this for Valentine’s Day, and it is totally delicious! mmm love it!

  14. Now just to find a way to drop the hint to my husband. Forget the bouquet of flowers – he can just make this for me on Mother’s Day! 🙂

  15. Hi Annie!
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog! I have gotten so many good recipes from it. We are having my inlaws over for lunch on Mother’s Day, and I was originally going to make your herb-marinated pork tenderloin, but now that I’ve seen the recipe for this, I have no idea which to pick! I saw your first post about this, where you just teased us with the picture, so I have been eagerly waiting for the recipe.

    Thank you so much!

  16. This looks wonderful! My sister lives in Florida and is always looking for recipes that use seafood. I am sending her a link to your blog.

  17. Hi Annie, I am making this Seafood Gratin for Mother’s Day and wanted to know what a good pairing you be for a side and dessert… I was thinking your poppyseed summer salad, but not sure on the dessert…. please let me know what you would recommend.

    Thank you!

    • The triple chocolate mousse cake I posted today! That’s what I served for dessert. But, I have yet to meet a dessert I don’t like.

  18. I’ve been eyeing this recipe in Ina’s cookbook for a while now, but making lobster at home does scare me! How did you do it? xxSAS

  19. Hey Annie! Happy Mother’s Day! I need to omit the Cod due to fish allergies (luckily not for me). Do you recommend adding more lobster and shrimp or substituting Crab? Thank you!

    • Hi Jessica,
      You could use halibut in place of the cod if that is acceptable for the allergy. If not, more lobster and/or shrimp, or crab are all great ideas. I can never get enough of all three so I think you really can’t go wrong!

  20. I recently checked Barefoot Contessa at Home out from the library, and this recipe was one that caught my attention right away. Not an any night meal, but such a treat for a special occasion! Looks amazing, so now I have to think of a special reason to make it 🙂

    Hope you had a great mother’s day!

  21. I made this for the Mother’s Day dinner & it was a BIG HIT. It was the first time cooking for my mother & sisters & they LOVED it. Thanks!

  22. & I made this with shrimp, scallops (cut in half, some in thirds) & crabmeat. It was late & my father (typical) forgot to get the fish & they don’t like lobster (mutants).

  23. Oh my. I must make this! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Hi Annie,

    Looks great! I’m hoping to make this soon, and was wondering what size gratin dishes you used for individual servings, and where you purchased them? Thanks!

    • Hi Sarah,
      I actually don’t know what size they are. They were a hand-me-down from a family member. They are on the larger side as gratin dishes go, I think. But really any size is fine. I know Sur La Table sells them, but I’m sure plenty of other stores do as well.

  25. Hi Annie,
    We made this dish and loved it. We just made in a casserole dish instead of the individual gratins. Now we’re planning to make it for a dinner party. I’m planning on doubling the recipe and wonder if I could make ahead and freeze. Then put the topping on just before baking. My concern is cooling the dish quickly enough in the fridge to avoid any chance of food poisoning if we make in the morning.

    • Jane,
      My concern would not be food poisoning but simply the quality of the seafood after freezing. Personally I think this dish is too good to be frozen and reheated. I made mine in advance (morning of the party), refrigerated it, and then baked later. It was fine.

  26. Thanks Annie,
    I’ll make it that morning as you suggest. It’s a wonderful dish and wouldn’t want to affect the taste.

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