Sunday, 6 March 2011

Courgettes! (Recipe)

Whether you call them courgettes or Zucchini, they are a pretty awesome fruit and can be used in so many savoury dishes. Once again, the health benefits are huge! They are really low in calories and fat and are about 90% water. They are full of vitamin C, A, folate and potassium. They also do not contain any cholesterol.

There is so much you can do with them. From the traditional ratatouille or roasted vegetables, to a topping on cous cous and salads, or in pasta dishes. You can even make chips out of them. However, what I love to do with them, is use them as a replacement for pasta in a lasagna. It's not because I think carbs are bad and I avoid pasta (I will post about my love of carbs another time), but, pasta does tend to bloat me, and if I can easily substitute it in a dish, then I am going to. Plus, I love courgettes and any place I can use them, I will. This recipe for lasagna is a little different than most, as it does not use mince. It is a salmon and prawn lasagna. It does sound a bit odd, and it was a total experiment. But, trust me! It really does taste good. I'm not going to lie, it does take a long time to make (about and hour and a half in total), but it is totally worth it, and it makes about 6 portions, so you can freeze some and it gives you a quick and easy meal in the week. The most unhealthy thing in this recipe is the cheese and the roux (white sauce), but I used reduced fat cheese and skimmed milk, so you can feel less guilty. I have no idea of the calories in each portion, but if I had to guess, I would say it is about 400 calories per portion. Serve it with a massive salad and you have yourself a very filling meal. So, here's a pretty long recipe.

Prawn and Salmon Lasagna (made with courgette instead of pasta)
- 6 courgettes (but this will vary depending on the dish you are using)
- 2 salmon fillets
- 1 pack of fresh prawns
- 1 bag of spinach
- 500g mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 box of passata
- 40g plain flour
- 40g butter
- 290ml skimmed milk
- Reduced fat mozzarella cheese

1) Cook salmon and cut up into flakes

2) Cut the courgettes into slices length ways. You should be able to get about 4 slices out of 1 courgette. Grill the slices. I did mine on a George Foreman, but it would work the same under a grill. On the George Foreman, the slices only took a couple of minute to cook. Once all cooked, set aside.
3) Cook spinach in boiling water for around 3 minutes, drain and then put aside. I doesn't matter that you are cooking things and letting them cool down, as you will be heating them up again in the oven when the lasagna is assembled.

4) Next, fry the onion, mushrooms and garlic in a couple of sprays of fry-lite for around 5 minutes, or until the onions and mushrooms have softened.

5) Add the passata to the mushroom mixture and then stir in the drained spinach, flaked salmon and prawns. I know it doesn't look very appetising.
6) Whilst that is cooking, you need to start making your roux. This can be a bit difficult if you have not made one from scratch before, as you have to constantly look after it, but it is pretty simple. You can buy packets of roux/white sauce, but it should only have 3 ingredients and those packet mixes have about 7 extra things in there that will not do you any good. So try and make it yourself :)
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the flour. Stir until it forms a smooth paste and cook for about 2 minutes. It might look like it's not working, but it will. Pour half the milk in and allow to boil without stirring.

Stir the mix until it blends into a smooth paste

Beat it well and add the remaining milk, beating it well after each bit you add. Cook on a simmer for a further 3-4 minutes, making sure you constantly stir it. It is best to use a non stick pan for this, otherwise it will burn the bottom of your pan.

7) Whilst the roux is simmering, you can start assembling the lasagna. Pour half of the prawn and salmon mixture into the bottom of the dish you are using.

8) Layer half of the courgette slices over the mixture.

9) Pour the remaining prawn and salmon mixture over the courgettes.

10) Layer the remaining courgettes over the mixture.

11) Pour the roux over the top layer of courgettes.

12) Top with slices of mozzarella.

13) It should now look a little something like this....

14) Put the dish in the oven at 200 C for about 30 minutes, or until it starts to brown on top. It will come out the oven looking like this

15) And finally.....serve!

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