Seafood Gratin

With Christmas upon us, I knew this past Friday would be my only night for a while to make a nice meal for Jim and I to enjoy while curled up on the couch to watch a movie. I decided on this dish from Ina Garten, as it seemed decadent, rich, and appropriate for an in-house date night. Now, before you check out the list of ingredients below and get completely overwhelmed, please believe me when I say that this wasn’t much of a chore at all. Yes, there are quite a few ingredients, including saffron, but it comes together fairly easily, and I was able to sit down to dinner with a clean kitchen, as the ease allowed me to clean up as I went along with preparation. Oh, and speaking of the saffron, you may be considering skipping this spice due to its cost, but please, I beg of you, don’t. Saffron is spendy, but you won’t use much, it keeps very well, and it lends a flavor that I am not capable of describing, but is crucial in making the dish the deliciousness that it was. Yes, it was very, very good, and I recommend making it for a special someone, or group of someones, soon. One final note, please don’t worry about not having individual gratin dishes. I baked this in a casserole dish, and then carefully plated into individual servings when we were ready to eat.


  • 1 cup seafood stock or clam juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons good white wine, such as Chablis, divided
  • 3 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 8 ounces raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut in half crosswise
  • 8 ounces raw halibut, cut into1-inch chunks
  • 8 ounces cooked lobster meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups julienned leeks, white and light green parts (2 large)
  • 1 1/2 cups julienned carrots (3 carrots)
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese dried bread crumbs)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place 4 individual gratin dishes on sheet pans. (If recipe is doubled serve it in a 14 by 9 1/4-inch oval gratin dish.)
  2. Combine the stock, cream, 1/2 cup of the wine, the tomato puree, and saffron in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and add the shrimp. After 3 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the shrimp to a bowl. Add the halibut to the stock for 3 minutes, until just cooked through, and remove to the same bowl. Add the cooked lobster to the bowl.
  3. Continue to cook the sauce until reduced by half, about 12 minutes. Mash 1 tablespoon of the butter together with the flour. Whisk the butter mixture into the sauce along with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a medium sauté pan. Add the leeks and carrots and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of wine, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until tender. Set aside.
  5. Combine the panko, Parmesan, parsley, tarragon, and garlic. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and mix it into the crumbs until they’re moistened.
  6. Divide the seafood among the 4 gratin dishes. Strew the vegetables on top of each dish. Pour the sauce equally over the seafood and vegetables and spoon the crumbs evenly on top. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly. Serve hot.

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