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Lobster Cannelloni with Grilled Eggplant Carpaccio and Hazelnut Lobster Jus
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- 2 1/2 Cups lobster stock*
- 1 eggplant, cut vertically in 1/4-inch slices and soaked in warm salted water for at least 30 minutes
- 1/8 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Teaspoon chopped thyme
- 1 Teaspoon chopped rosemary
- 4 1/2 Cups cooked lobster meat, claw and knuckles included, diced into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 1/4 Cup ricotta cheese
- 1 1/4 Cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 Cup diced shallots
- 2 Teaspoons chopped tarragon
- 20 cooked cannelloni sheets, lightly oiled to prevent sticking
- 4 Tablespoons hazelnut oil
- 2 Tablespoons butter, small diced
- Roasted hazelnuts, for garnish
- Fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, and thyme, for garnish
- Salt and pepper, to taste
The great thing about this Provençal-style recipe is that it’s a lot lighter than most cannelloni recipes you see. No baking required; the filling is just a small serving of ricotta and mascarpone cheese, and the sheets are lightly greased in olive oil. The only real decadent part is the lobster jus, but trust us, it’s worth it.
In a medium sauce pan, bring the lobster stock to a strong simmer and reduce by 1/2.
While the stock is reducing, grill the eggplant. Preheat a grill to 375 degrees. Drain the eggplant slices and pat dry with paper towels. Brush each eggplant with the extra-virgin olive oil and grill for about 1-2 minutes a side until the slices have nice grill marks. Brush again with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste and the chopped rosemary and thyme. Set aside.
To make the cannelloni, combine the lobster meat, ricotta cheese, shallots, and tarragon in a bowl. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Lay a piece of plastic wrap out across a cutting bowl and place 1 sheet of the cannelloni on top. Place about 3 tablespoons of the lobster filling in the center of the sheet horizontally, and then roll the cannelloni by pulling the bottom of the plastic wrap (the edge closest to you) up and over the filling, using your hands to tighten the seam of the sheet into the filling. Remove the plastic wrap from the roll and then pull it up and over again, so that you’ve rolled the cannelloni twice. This process is very similar to how you would roll sushi, pulling in the seal as you go to tighten the roll. Repeat this process with the remaining cannelloni sheets.
When the stock has reduced by 1/2, remove it from the heat and add the hazelnut oil. Transfer to a food processor or a blender and mix well, slowly adding the diced butter as you go until the sauce is thick and emulsified. If you own one, a hand blender directly into the sauce pan is the best way to emulsify the sauce.
To plate, place a slice of grilled eggplant onto a plate and top with 2 cannelloni. Pour the lobster jus sauce all over the cannelloni and drizzle with Parmesan shavings, hazelnuts, and fresh herbs.
* Lobster stock can be purchased from your local fish monger or from gourmet food stores such as Williams-Sonoma.