Morel and Asparagus Open Lasagne

This is one of those dishes that proves vegetables make just as good a meal as meat and seafood. Morels are very expensive but they have such a strong and distinct flavour that you only need a few of them, if you are unable to locate fresh morels just use dried or another variety of wild mushrooms. This lasagne makes an excellent starter or main dish.

Morel and Asparagus Open Lasagne

Portions: 6 Portions

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients

Wild Mushroom Filling

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp truffle oil
  • 200g mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned and finely sliced (if you are unable to purchase fresh ones use dried ones and reconstitute them in boiling water, reserving the water for the stock)
  • 300g button or chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and finely sliced
  • 150g morels, cleaned and finely sliced (leave 6 morels whole for garnishing)
  • 20-30g dried morels, reconstituted in 250ml of boiling water for 15 minutes, drained and finely sliced. Reserve the mushroom water (you will need an extra 20g if you do not have fresh morels)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 300ml double cream
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

Stock

  • reserved wild mushroom stock
  • 250ml dry white wine

Tomato Concasse

  • 3 large plum tomatoes or vine ripened tomatoes, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 3 tbsp basil leaves, shredded
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • maldon salt and freshly ground pepper

Lasagne

  • 6 sheets of dried lasagne sheets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Asparagus

  • 2 tbps virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch of fine fresh asparagus, bottoms trimmed (you may reserve these for a soup)

Spinach

  • 250g spinach
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tbps olive oil
  • pinch nutmeg, grated
  • maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Serve

  • 1 tsp truffle oil
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts toasted
  • 3 tbsp parmesan shavings

Method

  1. Stock: Place the reserved wild mushroom water and white wine in a saucepan and place it over a moderate heat to simmer and reduce while you prepare the dish. You need to reduce it until you barely have any liquid remaining.
  2. Tomato Concasse: Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside until ready to serve.
  3. Lasagne Sheets: Bring a large saucepan of water with the olive oil and place the lasagne sheets in the water. Cook the lasagne sheets for 3-5 minutes until tender. Drain the lasagne sheets from the water and toss them in a little olive oil. Set the sheets aside in a warm place while you prepare the filling.
  4. Wild Mushrooms: Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a moderate heat. When the oil is hot add the garlic to the pan and cook it for 1 minute, then add the mushrooms and thyme and cook them while stirring regularly for 5 minutes until they are soft and tender (set aside the 6 whole morels, to garnish). Stir in the double cream and stock and increase the temperature slightly and allow it to cook for a further couple of minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the truffle oil, spring onions, nutmeg and a little salt and pepper, and stir it into the mushrooms so that it is well distributed. Keep the filling hot until ready to serve.
  5. Asparagus: Bring water to the boil in a saucepan with the olive oil, then add the asparagus to the pan and cook the asparagus for a couple of minutes and then drain them. Season the asparagus with a little salt and pepper and keep it warm until ready to serve or allow it to cool.
  6. Spinach: Wash and trim the spinach. Place the olive oil in large saucepan over a moderate to high heat. When the oil is hot add the garlic and spinach to the pan and reduce the heat slightly. Stir the spinach regularly for a two to three minutes until is tender and wilted. Remove the spinach from the heat and season it with a little salt and pepper and grated nutmeg. Set the spinach aside and keep it warm until ready to serve. Place the olive oil in a large saucepan over a moderate high heat, when the oil is hot stir in the garlic and cook it for 30 seconds. Add the blanched asparagus spears to the pan heat it through for 1-2 minutes until hot, remove the pan from the heat and gently stir in the tomatoes. Season with a little salt and pepper and keep warm until ready to serve.
  7. To Serve: Cut the cooked lasagne sheets in half. Distribute the spinach in the centre of six serving bowls and place one sheet of lasagne on top. Place the asparagus on top of each sheet of lasagne (setting aside a few spears for garnishing). Follow this with the Wild mushroom mixture and scatter over two thirds of the tomato concasse and the pine nuts. Finish the dish by placing a lasagne sheet on each filling. Garnish the lasagne with a few sprigs of asparagus, the set aside morels, tomato concasse and parmesan shavings. Drizzle the truffle oil over the lasagne and serve.
  • All the components of this dish can be prepared up to a day in advance and reheated when ready to serve.