Lasagna Béchamel with Cedar Smoked Verlasso Salmon

This is such a beautiful version of an Italian favorite. The creaminess of the béchamel pairs perfectly with the light smokiness of the salmon.  This can be garnished with lemon zest or preserved lemons and lightly chopped Italian parley for brightness. A salad made of seasonal greens, olive oil and salt would be the perfect accompaniment.

Serves 6-8

ingredients

For the Salmon

  • 1 10-inch cedar plank, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
  • 1 two-pound Verlasso salmon fillet, roughly 9 inches in length, trimmed of the belly meat and the skin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Béchamel Sauce

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 6 cups Whole Milk
  • 4 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • Nutmeg
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese

For the Lasagna

  • 1 pound fresh lasagna pasta sheets
  • 3 cups Parmesan cheese (freshly grated, divided)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Chopped Italian parsley and freshly grated lemon zest for garnish

directions

For the Salmon

  1. Immerse an untreated, cedar plank in water; soak at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.  Heat a grill to medium-high heat (about 450° F). Place the plank on the indirect heat side of the grill. 
  2. Brush the olive oil on the salmon and season it with salt and pepper. When the plank begins to smoke, place the fish on it and close the grill hood. Grill 25-30 minutes or until the salmon is opaque in the center, and the flesh flakes easily with a fork.

For the Béchamel Sauce

  1. Heat butter in medium sauce pan until melted. 
  2. Add flour and stir until smooth. Cook over medium heat until light golden brown, about 6-7 minutes. 
  3. Heat the milk in a separate pan until it's just about to boil. Add milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 seconds. 
  4. Remove from heat and season with salt and nutmeg. stir in Parmesan cheese.

For the Lasagna

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Prepare an ice bath. 
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil . Blanch the pasta sheets, 3 to 4 at a time, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to the ice bath and allow to cool. Lay onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in between the layers to prevent sticking. Repeat with remaining pasta. 
  3. To build the lasagna, in the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish, spread a layer of béchamel sauce. Top with a few blanched pasta sheets, overlapping slightly. Top with a layer of béchamel, salmon, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with cheese. Repeat with the remaining béchamel, salmon and cheese. Finish the final layer with béchamel and Parmesan. 
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 to 25 minutes before serving. Serve lasagna with chopped parsley, lemon zest and freshly grated Parmesan.