Seafood and chive pancakes

About this recipe: A richly flavoured sauce complements seafood wrapped in chive pancakes in this healthy version of a classic dish. Serve with broccoli florets or another green vegetable.

Norma MacMillan

Ingredients

Serves: 4 

  • 30 g (1 oz) butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 kg (2¼ lb) mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
  • 4 tbsp white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200 g (7 oz) skinless haddock fillet, cut into 2 cm (¾ in) chunks
  • 30 g (1 oz) plain flour
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill or chives
  • 100 g (3½ oz) cooked peeled prawns
  • 50 g (1¾ oz) Gruyère cheese, finely grated
  • 30 g (1 oz) fresh breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • sprigs of fresh dill to garnish
  • Chive pancakes
  • 100 g (3½ oz) plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
  • 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

Prep:40min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:1hr 

  1. To make the pancakes, sift the flour and a good pinch of salt into a bowl, add the eggs and half of the milk, and mix well with an electric hand mixer for 2 minutes or until the batter is smooth with bubbles rising to the surface. Alternatively, you can use a whisk, which will take a bit longer. Stir in the remaining milk and the chives.
  2. Heat an 18–20 cm (7–8 in) non-stick frying pan. Add a little oil, then pour in enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook over a moderate heat until golden brown on the base, then flip the pancake over and cook the other side briefly. Remove from the pan to a plate.
  3. Repeat with the rest of the batter, adding a little more oil every so often, to make 8 pancakes in all. Stack the pancakes on the plate, interleaving them with kitchen paper.
  4. Melt one-third of the butter in a large, deep saucepan and cook the shallots for 2 minutes. Add the mussels, wine and bay leaf, cover tightly and cook over a fairly high heat for 3 minutes, shaking the pan a few times. Drain the mussels in a colander set over a bowl to catch the juices. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Remove the mussels from the shells and set them aside in a bowl (there should be about 200 g/7 oz mussels); discard the shells and the bay leaf.
  5. Strain the cooking juices through a fine sieve and pour back into the large pan. Bring to a simmer, then add the haddock chunks and poach for 2 minutes. Remove the haddock pieces with a draining spoon and add them to the mussels. Reserve the cooking liquid.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the reserved cooking liquid and the milk. Bring almost to the boil, then simmer for 3–4 minutes, stirring, until thickened and smooth. Add the dill or chives and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour 150 ml (5 fl oz) of the sauce into the bowl of seafood. Add the prawns and stir gently to mix.
  7. Lay out all the pancakes and divide the fish mixture among them. Fold the pancakes into triangles. Spoon a little of the remaining sauce into 4 individual gratin dishes, or into a large shallow, ovenproof dish, just to cover the bottom. Arrange the filled pancakes in the dishes, overlapping them slightly, then pour the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with the cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Garnish with dill sprigs and serve.

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Some more ideas

Use the seafood mixture to fill large flour tortillas (you'll need 1 tortilla per person, and can just roll them up). Or try it as a filling in a fish lasagne. * A mixture of skinless salmon and haddock fillet or cod with smoked haddock also works well in the filling.

Plus points

Mussels contain useful amounts of zinc, which is a mineral found in all tissues of the body. Zinc is necessary for the functioning of the immune system and therefore protection against infections. * Like most cheeses, Gruyère is a good source of calcium, essential for healthy teeth and bones, plus zinc which has an important role to play in wound healing. * Including milk in recipes as well as in drinks can help to ensure an adequate intake of calcium.

Each serving provides

B1, B12, niacin, calcium, iron, selenium * A, B6, zinc * B2, E, folate, copper, potassium

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