I think I like Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day, still preparing, meeting friends for lunch and finishing the very last of the shopping then getting out to Mass or to catch up with family before settling down in front of the fire. I usually have something prepared which can be bunged into the oven in case of last minute guests and this was a really tasty option this year. It is a lighter version with a crumb top rather than potato but still delicious and nice and filling.
8fl oz seafood stock
8fl oz cream
4 fl oz plus 3 tablespoons good white wine
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads if you have them
8 ounces uncooked prawns, peeled, deveined, and cut in half crosswise
8 ounces raw halibut, cut into1-inch chunks
8 ounces raw salmon, cut into 1-inch chunks
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
2 large julienned leeks
3 julienned carrots
1 cup good quality breadcrumbs – I tend to use Gluten free
3 oz freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
Oven at 180C
Combine the stock, cream, 1/2 cup of the wine, the tomato puree, and saffron in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and immediately lower the heat, and add the prawns. After 2 minutes, remove the prawns to a bowl. Add the halibut and salmon to the stock for 3 minutes, until just cooked through, and remove to the same bowl.
Melt 1 tbsp of the butter and add the flour and cook out for about 2 minutes. Add the sauce mixture into the butter flour mixture, whisking well until slightly thick and smooth. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes then set aside.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium pan. Add the leeks and carrots and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of wine, , season really well and cook gently for 5 to 10 minutes, until tender.
Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley and tarragon. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and mix it into the crumbs until it is well incorporated.
Pour the seafood into a gratin dish. ( I used a 12 by 10). Sprinkle the vegetables on top and pour the sauce over the seafood and vegetables ensuring all are covered. Spoon the crumbs evenly on top. Bake for 25 minutes, until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly.