Posted by: lisetta | December 24, 2007

Salmon fennel lasagna


Poached salmon
Braised fennel
Steamed spinach
Besciamella – sauce Béchamel
Carlino’s fresh lasagne noodles
Years ago, my friend Jeff decided to host a Christmas Eve dinner themed on the “Feast of the Seven Fishes”, the legendary Italian American tradition. Though neither of us had grown up with the ritual, it resonated with our inner foodies. Coming up with 7 courses of seafood is remarkably simple. The idea for this lasagna was originally his; I added fennel fronds or spinach to the dish and now claim it as my “own”.
Making béchamel is a snap for beginning cooks. Check out Mario Batali’s recipe on it here. I follow a similar process, but use equal amounts of butter and flour, and don’t bother heating the milk up before adding it to the roux. While the cold milk increases the likelihood of clumping, you can eliminate lumps by working quickly with a wooden whisk. If you’re worried about the high fat content in this sauce, you can substitute 2% milk for whole milk and get a somewhat similar result.
Making the lasagna itself is a simple assembly task; all you need to do is layer the ingredients. No need to pre-cook the lasagne; simply realize that the pasta will absorb the béchamel, so ladel it in liberally. Bake the lasagna until the top begins to brown, and let it sit 15-20 minutes or so before serving. It won’t be nearly as delicious the next day, so share it with friends pronto.
Who says you need seven fishes for a delicious Christmas Eve dinner? Buon natale!


  1. Lisa, I’m so honored you’d feature my lasagne. I like the spinach addition. I would also add some Italian cheeses like ricotta, fresh mozarella, grated parmesan and romano cheeses into the layers. Buon appetito!

  2. Ah yes; I also thought of featuring your leek tart, but it’s more French than Italian. Maybe you’d like to write a guest entry??? What are you cooking these days?

  3. […] too bad, but definitely not something I would try and recreate in the future. I mean, it’s no salmon fennel lasagna after all! I think my co-workers are in for a surprise lunch tomorrow. They get coconut oatmeal […]

  4. […] on a lasagna Whenever I cook the salmon-fennel lasagna, I think of my longtime friend Jeff, who first came up with the idea it many years ago. I […]

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