10 to 12 servings
This elegant entrée is one of my favorites for special occasions. Served on a bed of spinach with a creamy seafood sauce on top, it looks and tastes luxurious.
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
- 1 cup finely chopped shallots, divided
- 2 pounds fresh baby spinach, or two packages (16 ounces each) frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 pounds mixed fish and/or shellfish (see Ingredient Notes)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup seafood stock (see Ingredient Notes), milk, or bottled clam juice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup finely shredded imported Swiss cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large skillet, melt 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of the butter over medium heat, add 1/2 cup of the shallots, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the spinach, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted and cooked through, another 3 minutes. Transfer to a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Diva Do-Ahead: At this point, you can let cool, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Clean out the skillet, melt another 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of the butter over medium heat, add the remaining 1/2 cup shallots, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the seafood and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. The shrimp should begin to turn pink, and the fish and scallops will begin to turn opaque.
Transfer the contents of the pan to a colander set over a bowl; drain, reserving the juices from the seafood.
In a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, then add the flour and whisk until white bubbles form on the surface. Cook, whisking constantly, 2 to 3 minutes longer, then add the liquid from the sautéed seafood and the seafood stock, stirring until the mixture begins to boil. Add the wine and cream, remove from the heat, add the Swiss cheese, and stir until melted. Add the seafood, stir to combine, and pour the mixture over the spinach in the baking dish. Diva Do-Ahead: At this point, you can let cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before continuing.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle the casserole with the grated Parmesan, and bake, uncovered, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese begins to turn golden, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Shellfish - For the mixed shellfish, I like to use shrimp, crab, lobster and scallops, or any combination of the four. If you would prefer to make this with fish fillets, use firm-fleshed fish such as salmon, halibut and sea bass and cut them into 1-inch pieces.
Seafood Stock - This stock can be found in the bouillon section of most grocers or online.
Diva Variation Chicken Florentine: Substitute 8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch chunks, for the seafood. Sauté the chicken as directed in the recipe, then substitute chicken broth for the seafood stock and proceed as directed.
Excerpted from Perfect Party Food, by Diane Phillips. Copyright 2005, used by permission from The Harvard Common Press http://www.harvardcommonpress.com.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Harvard Common Press. All rights reserved.
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