Often, back in the days when I was a college student, I would come home from class and throw together a quick dinner made of rice, frozen vegetables, a can of tuna and a can of cream of mushroom soup. It was easy to make and (probably?) healthier than the usual student fare of pizza and diet soda. The recipe for my "tuna casserole," had come from a magazine advertisement for a famous brand of canned tuna fish. Just recently, I remembered those meals ... and I decided to revamp the recipe by throwing out the canned ingredients and replacing them with fresh ones. The result was really good. My recipe contains long grain rice and crunchy wild rice cooked in broth. I have some sauteed vegetables, crab and shrimp, and a delicious homemade bechamel sauce that holds all the ingredients together. The dish is topped with panko breadcrumbs and then it goes into the oven. It comes out bubbly, and delicious. I am glad I revisited and revamped this recipe. It took two tries. Version one needed further tweaking, version two was spot on. You'll see that I did not use any salt, and that's because I thought that the seafood was salty enough to flavour the whole dish. Here then is my recipe for shrimp and crab casserole:
1 pound of cooked crab meat
1 pound of medium shrimp, cooked only until they just turn pink
Juice of one medium lemon
- Peel the shrimp and place it in a bowl along with the crab. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the seafood and set aside.
3/4 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1/4 cup uncooked wild rice
3 cups of vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
about 3 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
dash of black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
- In a medium-sized bring the broth to a boil and add all the ingredient. Bring back to the boil, lower the heat to simmer, cover the pot and let the rice cook until the liquid is absorbed but the rice is still moist. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf and set the rice aside.
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 medium or 1/2 of a large red sweet pepper, chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 scallions, sliced
4 mushrooms, sliced
- Cook the corn and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the celery, pepper, and shallots and cook until the vegetable begin to soften (about five minutes).
- Add the mushrooms and scallions and saute for three minutes.
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups of lukewarm milk
- In a saucepan over medium heat melt the butter.
- Lower the heat and add the flour, mixing it with the butter.
- Add the milk slowly, whisking constantly.
- Keep whisking after the milk is added. Whisk well, until the sauce thickens and is ready to use. The sauce starts to thicken from the bottom of the pot where the heat is more intense, so make sure that you stir the thickened sauce from bottom to top in order to incorporate it well.
1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
1 or 2 tablespoons of butter, cut into small pieces
a few dashes of cayenne
black pepper to taste
- In a baking dish large enough to hold all the ingredients fold everything together: the rice, the seafood, the vegetables, the bechamel sauce, and the black pepper.
- Smooth the top and cover it with the breadcrumbs.
- Sprinkle some paprika over the breadcrumbs and dot with butter.
- Place in the oven and cook for twenty minutes until the top turns golden brown.
- Serve right away! We had leftovers and the flavour was still great the next day. Enjoy!