Crab & Mushroom Gratin


This is an old-fashioned Franco-Russian dish using bechamel,
rare thing these days. Don't serve anything with cream in
it for
the main course.

  • 200g white fish fillets
    (e.g.cod, haddock,gurnard or sea
  • 315ml milk (plus extra,
    if needed)
  • 25g butter
  • 1 small onion, finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely
  • 1¼- 1½ teaspoon ground cayenne
    (according to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 150ml double cream
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Generous squeeze of lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 325g button mushrooms,
    roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 400g white crab meat
  • 30g white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely
    chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 35g grated Parmesan
  • 25g melted butter


  1. Heat the oven to 200°C/fan oven
    180°C/mark 6. Put the fish
    fillets and the milk into a saute
    pan and gently heat to a simmer.
    Poach the fish for about 5
    minutes, or until only just cooked. Lift
    the fish out with a
    slotted spoon and break it into chunks (remove
    skin if the
    fillets weren't skinned). Strain and measure the milk;
    need 315ml, so add more if necessary.
  2. Heat the butter in a medium-size
    saucepan and saute the onion
    for 5 minutes until soft but not
    coloured. Add the garlic and
    cayenne and cook for a futher 2
    minutes. Add the flour and stir for
    a minute or so until it is
    well incorporated. Take the pan off the
    heat and gradually add
    the poaching milk, stirring continuously.
    Return the pan to
    the heat and bring to the boil, stirring
    constantly. Turn down
    the heat and cook for about 3 minutes,
    stirring from time to
    time. Add the cream, mustard and lemon juice.
    Taste and
    season. Set aside.
  3. In a frying pan, heat the oil and saute
    the mushrooms until
    they are golden.Turn up the heat to
    evaporate any juice from the
    mushrooms. Add the brandy and let
    it bubble away to about 1
    tablespoon. Stir the mushrooms into
    the sauce.
  4. Divide the white fish and crab between
    6 small gratin dishes.
    Season to taste. Pour the sauce over
    the top.
  5. Mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley
    and Parmesan. Sprinkle
    over each gratin, pour the melted
    butter on top and bake in the
    oven for about 10-15 minutes,
    until golden. Serve

To drink: Adryoroff-dry Riesling- New World
Old, or this unusual Chilean blend in which Viognier
softens the
Sauvignon:Doiia Dominga Sauvignon Blanc Viognier

From the January 2013 issue of House & Garden. Recipe
Diana Henry; photograph by Jean Cazals; food preparation
styling by Aya Nishimura; wine recommendations by Joanna
table styling by Alexander Breeze. 

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