Sand crab lasagne

When I visit Brisbane, I always make sure to stop by Il Centro for a delicious slice of this dish. Brisbane chef Gillian Hirst created this recipe, and it is my favorite restaurant dish EVER.

I was fortunate to find the recipe online. I can now eat it whenever I want without having to travel 1,000km. Second, and perhaps most importantly, I can make it myself, which means that I can use gluten-free lasagna sheets.

This dish was absolutely delicious. We preferred the homemade version because it had more tomato flavor.

Instead of spending hours picking out meat from fresh crabs, I bought frozen crabmeat at my local fishmonger. (Really…life is too short to do that.) You will have to pay a little extra for convenience.

I modified the original recipe by substituting thickened cream for Bechamel sauce. It’s easy to find the original recipe on the internet, which includes instructions for making it with Bechamel sauce. However, I would not bother because it’s much easier to make using cream.

You’ll need to consult a nutritionist if you want to know which cream is the worst – Bechamel or plain cream. If you’re watching your weight, I would recommend that you stop reading this post and close it. This recipe is not healthy and contains a lot of calories. It should only be prepared for special occasions. 

The fish stock I bought was of good quality, but it did not have the flavor that I wanted. You can make your store using crab shells, prawn heads, or shells. I added some honey to the dish as the sauce from the restaurant was quite sweet.

Ingredients

300g crab meat

Cream thickener 300ml

Parmesan cheese grated in 1 heaping tablespoon

10ml olive oil

Half diced onion

Half a clove of garlic

Can of Italian 400g tomatoes

Sugar, 1/2 tsp

1 tsp of salt and a pinch of pepper

Fresh basil finely chopped, 1 tsp

Instant Lasagna Sheets (gluten-free), 1 tsp. fresh oregano finely chopped

SAUCE

500ml fish stock

60ml White Wine

Cream thickened 300ml

3 tsp tomato paste

Honey, 1/2 to 1 tsp

METHOD

1. Add the fresh herbs and tomatoes, along with sugar and salt, to the onion and garlic in oil. Cook for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is evaporated and the tomatoes are broken down. Allow to cool.

2. Thaw out the crab meat if it is frozen. Drain any excess liquid.

3. Mix one tblspn cream with the crab to loosen up the meat.

4. In a separate dish, combine the remaining cream and parmesan.

5. Add a thin layer of tomato sauce to a baking dish and then top it with the lasagna sheets. Add some crab and then top it with the cream/cheese mixture. Top with the lasagna sheets and drizzle some tomato sauce.

6. Continue layering… crab, cream tomato, lasagna sheets, and cream/cheese mixture. I used two lasagna sheets to build 4 layers (i.e., eight total). Do not worry if some of the cream/tomato mixture starts to leak out.

7. Once the lasagna is cooked, bake at 180C until the top has a golden color and the sheets are fully cooked. Remove the lasagna from the oven, cover it with foil, and allow to stand for five minutes before serving.

8. While the lasagna cooks, prepare the sauce. First, vigorously boil the wine and stock in a saucepan until they reduce to half (1 cup).

9. Add cream and simmer until mixture thickens. Add the honey, tomato paste, and a pinch of sea salt. It should have a taste similar to bisque, with a touch of sweetness.

It will take about an hour to make the sauce (the same time as it takes to prepare the lasagna).

10. Serve the lasagna on a sauce bed.

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