Recipe and photos contributed to Hispanic Kitchen by Veronica Shine
Once a proud kingdom that extended into parts of France and the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, Catalonia today is an autonomous region with its own language and dynamic traditions in northeastern Spain. A seafaring nation, Catalonia has gathered from all over the world an eclectic mix of style and a true melting pot in the kitchens around town.
Pasta is typically associated as the cuisine of Italy. However, in Spain pasta can be traced as far back as 1477. It was in that particular year that Catalonia’s first cookbook was written by Ruperto de Nola. The cookbook introduced Italian culinary style to nobility.
Rice no doubt is the most important staple complimenting many of Spain’s recipes, but surprisingly cannelloni appears to run a close second in its northern regions. The versatile Catalans adapted these “unfamiliar” dishes to their own inimitable culture. Dishes on their tables today, such as cannelloni, are not at all Italian but truly Catalan in style and flavor.
Catalans are particularly fond of Canelones Rossini, which is stuffed with a combination of heavier meats (chicken, beef and pork). During the summer months when seafood is premium and a lighter choice, for the main meal, the stuffing in cannelloni changes to shrimp and hake, known as “Canelones con gambas y merluza.” Dish it up on the plate and add a seafood sauce of your choice.
Yields 4 servings
8 pieces of cannelloni shells
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
½ lb. cleaned and peeled shrimp
½ lb. of hake or whiting, poached (see separate poaching instructions)
½ cup of butter
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup of flour
1½ liters of milk
¼ pint of heavy cream
Salt to taste
1 cup of grated cheese
1. Prepare the onion and garlic, all finely chopped and place in a saucepan adding a small amount of olive oil and sauté over medium heat.
2. Add in the shrimp and fish and continue to sauté for a few minutes. Place the pan aside.
3. Heat up the milk until boiling and place aside.
4. In another pan, heat the butter with the olive oil and add in flour: Stir well and pour the hot milk in gradually, constantly stirring to avoid lumps.
5. Once this mixture begins to thicken, add the shrimp and fish mixture and let simmer for 10 minutes and season with spices.
6. Pour into a bowl and let it cool in refrigerator for 1 hour.
7. Cook the cannelloni in salted boiling water and a tablespoon of olive oil. Drain and place on clean paper towels.
8. Insert the filling to each cannelloni.
9. In a baking tray, cover the bottom with the cream and add the cannelloni. Place balance of the cream over the cannelloni and sprinkle with grated cheese.
10. Place in the oven at 400ºF for 10 minutes until brown.
11. Serve hot with your choice of seafood sauce on the side.
Poaching Fish Directions:
1. Put water, lemon juice and salt in a large pan.
2. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add the hake and simmer for 2 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and leave to finish cooking gently in the cooking liquid.
5. Remove the meat from the fish.