You can personalize this seafood casserole by using just about any fish and seafood combination that you wish. If you have fresh seafood, all the better, but if you use frozen seafood, like I usually do, you are still guaranteed great results.
Using Frozen Seafood
You may find frozen seafood to be an excellent value and convenience in your cooking. The key to using frozen fish and seafood is to carefully pick your recipes. Basically anything that comes with a liquid, as
in this easy fish soup recipe, will cover up the fact that thawed frozen seafood is always a bit soggy and less flavorful then fresh.
A dish such as this easy shrimp recipe doesn't work well with frozen seafood. There is very little sauce and the emphasis is really on the shrimp itself, so it needs to be succulent, firm and fresh.
The key to cooking any seafood, frozen or otherwise, is to do things quickly. Over-cooking shrimp, scallops and other delicacies causes them to become rubbery and fish just falls apart. In this recipe, it isn't necessary or even recommended to prethaw the seafood. Instead place frozen seafood in simmering water: it will thaw and cook (if necessary) rapidly.
Here in France we can easily find seafood mixes in the grocery store. The one I use for this seafood casserole is a mixture of shrimp, mussels, squid and scallops that have already been cooked before freezing. If you can find similar, I highly recommend using it for this recipe.
Otherwise, come up with your own combination of seafood - just aim to have about two pounds of seafood for this seafood casserole that serves six.
You can either bake this seafood casserole in one large casserole dish for serving as a main course, or you can bake it in individual ramekins and serve it as starter course. Either way, it will be delicious.
Bring a large pot of water to simmer and add the cubed cod. Simmer just until done (this should only take two or three minutes). Add the frozen seafood and simmer just until thawed (about 1 minute). Remove from heat and drain immediately.
Melt the two tablespoons of butter in a Dutch oven or sturdy pot on medium heat. Add the leeks and the mushrooms and cook stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are soft (about 8 minutes). Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of flour and cook, stirring for one minute to thoroughly coat the vegetables with flour.
Pour on the white wine and stir well to combine. Then mix in the milk and cream. Heat until thick and just below the boiling point, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and add the parsley, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the seafood mixture.
Pour the mix into a 9X13 inch buttered baking dish. Mix together the parmesan cheese and the bread crumbs and sprinkle this evenly on top of the casserole.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F. Serve your seafood casserole piping hot with rice.