Don’t Tell Italians, but Lasagna With Herring Is a True Masterpiece
Traveling to Italy is complicated now, so I’m sticking to local ingredients and merging the best of both worlds in an unexpected marriage of lasagna and herring.
Yes, you’ve read that right. But don’t panic – it’s tried and tested and really delicious. Just don’t say anything to Italians, because they could get really furious. Or maybe even throw up?
lasagna noodles (I’ve got no idea how many you’ll need – just buy the pack and see for yourself; I used 6);
cheese (around 150 g);
some hard cheese;
2 herring fillets in tomato sauce (buy ready-made or DIY, see below)
Steps for bechamel
In theory, every person that has ever been in the kitchen should know how to make this. In practice, for some unknown reasons, very few do. So here we go:
Bring milk to a boil. Carefully watch the process, as the difference between milk boiling in a pot and milk boiling all over your kitchen is roughly 1.5 seconds. Switch off the heat.
If using any spices, add them no and allow to sit for 20 minutes and absorb the flavors;
In another saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until you get a smooth paste. I prefer performing this action with a wooden spoon. By the way, the paste you just made is called roux [roo]. Here you go – you’ve learned something new today. Heat the paste for a couple more minutes;
Strain the milk or spoon out the spices. Slowly pour the milk into the sauce until you get a nice, smooth sauce. Stirring constantly, heat it for another 5–10 minutes, until thickened.
Season with salt and pepper. Nutmeg works too, but let’s leave it for another time.
Steps for lasagna
If you’ve bought your herring in sauce, skip this step. If you have your herring and a can of tomatoes separately, follow along:
Fry onion and garlic in a pan; feel free to add some other spices;
Pour over the tomatoes, mix well, heat up. Add to a blender and make yourself a puree.
Mix the tomatoes with herring.
Herring in tomato sauce;
Top layer is always bechamel;
Sprinkle with hard cheese.
Note: no need to parboil the noodles as they will cook perfectly in this moist sauce. Cover your dish with foil and cook in an oven preheated 180–190 C. 45 minutes should be enough. Then take the foil off and cook for another 15 minutes. Done.
P.S. My kitchen is not even trying to be authentic. Here, I cook whatever I come up with, depending on what I’ve got on me, and with little precision.