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The different types of fish gratin involve variations on the seafood, cheese and sauce used in the dish. This baked fish dish with a crumb and cheese coating is highly adaptable to suit different tastes and budgets. Fish gratin may be cooked entirely from scratch and carefully seasoned with a variety of herbs, or made with canned foods with very little flavoring added.
While many cooks add lemon juice to seafood gratin dishes, others don't. Typically though, fish gratins made with white sauces do have some lemon flavoring, while tomato-based versions may leave this out. Sliced tomatoes and tomato sauce may be placed together in a greased dish along with the seafood before a crumb mixture is added on top. There are many different seasoning options from Italian herbs to just salt and pepper. In a creamy type of fish gratin, fillets or other seafood may be lightly seasoned and baked in a crumb crust before being topped with a rich white sauce before serving.
Cream, egg yolks and butter form the white sauce. In pantry shelf-based versions of fish gratin, canned creamy soups such as mushroom or celery are often substituted for white sauce ingredients. As the soups are already seasoned, cooks can just add pepper or perhaps some dried herbs to create the quick sauce. Fresh dill or other herbs may be used when cooking gratins from scratch, but care must be taken not to overpower the taste of the fish.
Different kinds of fish are used to make seafood gratins, such as cod, haddock and orange roughy. Some fish gratin recipes also call for shellfish such as shrimp, prawns or crab. Even smoked fish is used in some seafood gratin recipes along with whitefish fillets.
Various cheeses are used in different types of fish gratins. Parmesan is a popular option, but Swiss, Emmentaler and other strong-flavored cheeses may be mixed with bread crumbs to form a fish gratin topping. Many types of fish gratins use just one kind of grated cheese, but combining cheeses is also sometimes done with this dish.
Bread cubes rather than crumbs are used by some cooks as a gratin topping to blend with the cheese. Larger cubes may be preferred because they can give a fish gratin extra crunch appeal. Usually though, fine bread crumbs are preferred, as they tend to result in a firmer, more even top crust.
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