Seafood for a Crowd

I have been wanting to try this amazing seafood gratin recipe out of my Barefoot Contessa cookbook for sometime, but it’s honestly a little rich for my grocery budget.

It stars two of the highest-priced items in the seafood case: halibut and lobster.

Don’t get me wrong, I will splurge and get that stuff sometimes. [More so, I’ll scour the “Manager’s Special” shelves looking for them.] It’s just not something I’ll do all the time.

So, when I saw sprouts was having a major sale on both jumbo shrimp and fresh lobster, I decided to tweak it a little and go for it.

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Now, I really went for it on this recipe. I actually made my own seafood stock. I know. It’s not something you HAVE  to do. Did it enhance the flavor? Yes. Would vegetable stock or bottled clam juice do the same? Sure. It was really easy, honestly, and since you’ll have the shells/tails from the seafood anyway…why not put them to good use?

Cook the lobster by placing it belly-up on a small baking pan. Put a few pats of butter on top and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 for about 10-12 minutes, or until cooked through. Let it cool for at least 8-10 minutes before handling. Cut it right down the center with a sharp knife, and peel the meat away from the shell.

I made the stock by adding my shrimp shells and lobster tail to a few cups of my homemade scrap broth, and simmering over medium-low heat for about an hour. I skimmed out the shells, and voila! You have seafood stock.

You could even mix this up by adding in what you like: halibut, scallops, more lobster.

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Seafood Gratin (THM S)

  • 1 1/3 lbs jumbo easy-peel shrimp
  • 1 fresh lobster tail (raw, shell-on)
  • 1 c seafood stock (or substitutes from above)
  • 1 c half and half
  • 1/2 c plus a few Tablespoons of white wine
  • 3 Tsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3 strips of bacon, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1/4 c fresh parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tsp fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tsp fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 – 1 c “bread”crumbs (I used crushed Parmesan Whisps (all cheese crackers). You can also use baking blend, pork rinds, or all cheese if you like.)

Preheat the oven to 375.

Prepare the sauce by combining stock, half and half, 1/2 c wine, tomato paste, and saffron in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to low and cook for about another 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.

While that’s happening, add a few tablespoons of butter to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, celery, and carrot and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and add 3 Tsp of white wine to de-glaze the pan. Cook until the alcohol reduces off, about another 3 minutes.

In a large cast iron skillet, cook the bacon until crispy and remove it to a paper towel. Cook the shrimp in the bacon fat for about 90 seconds on each side, seasoned with a little salt and pepper. Place the bacon and cooked shrimp together with the cooked lobster.

After the sauce is reduced, whisk in the xanthan gum and continue whisking over low heat until sauce is thickened to desired consistency.  Remove from heat, and combine with cooked vegetables, bacon, and seafood.

Place the mixture into a large casserole or gratin dish. Top with crushed Parmesan Whisps (or other topping of choice), parmesan cheese, tarragon, and parsley. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the top is slightly browned.

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Lovely!

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