Langoustine and Lobster Cannelloni

Categories: Main Course, Recipes, Sauce, West
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Published on: October 10, 2013

This was the fourth course from my tasting menu, a Langoustine and Lobster Cannelloni with a Saffron sauce, braised baby fennel and pink grapefruit pearls.  Had this been at a different time of year I would have used blood orange to make the pearls but they are out of season.  I wanted pearls that would look like fish roe but also provide an acidic hit to counter the seafood and saffron sauce.

This was the dish I had to alter the most during the dinner, it was the most difficult to do and I wasn’t entirely satisfied with how it came out.  We had problem after problem with almost every element, the saffron sauce became a bisque (not by choice), the grapefruit pearls were very difficult to form, the langoustine wasn’t as fresh as I wanted and the cannelloni ended up more like dumplings than pasta.  If I was to do this dinner all over again I would change this dish the most.  I feel it didn’t come together, each element on its own worked out OK in the end, but because of all the issues it just didn’t gel like I had planned.  Still it was lobster and langoustine, it was going to taste nice!

Our first mistake came when making the sauce.  We had just finished cooking the langoustine and puréeing the shells when Martin (my sous chef for the evening) was passing it through the chinois, I suggested we help speed it up by passing the langoustine cooking water through with the rest of the stock – something which I had planned to do anyway.  However about 2mins into passing through the stock Martin asks “Do you want me to pass it all through?” I took that to mean, “pass through all the stock”, he meant,” pass though all the langoustine cooking water”, which was a couple of litres!.  When he proudly handed over a massive pot of soup (in record quick time) I was a little shocked and disconcerted… “what the heck am I going to do with this?”.  It took me a moment before we decided on reducing the stock right down and thickening it up.  The problem with that was it intensified the flavours and we already had the lobster tomalley (liver) in there so it ended up as a really strong flavoured bisque!  By the time we got to serving this course I heated the bisque, took a taste and realised it was way too strong, I couldn’t serve it in that state.  The saffron sauce was out the window, so I had to adapt the bisque into something that was both palatable and would work with the cannelloni… I succeeded with the former (surprisingly the guests loved it) but didn’t quite achieve the latter.  I rescued the bisque on the fly so the recipe might not be exact, it involved white pepper, parsley, cream/milk and Marsala wine.

The one thing I was really happy with in this dish was the grapefruit pearls.  I’ve put the ingredients here along with the general method to make them but for more detail on reverse spherification see the separate article (to be completed).  The pearls really helped to lift the dish, the punch of acid was perfect for helping to cut through the bisque and seafood but without being too strong.  You shouldn’t be afraid to try spherification, it requires a few tools and powders but the results are spectacular and impossible to replace, it really adds something to a dish.


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Ingredients (Serves 6-8):

750g Lobster (cooked)

2kg Langoustine


2 Egg Whites

100ml Double Cream

25g Butter


Saffron Sauce Bisque:

100ml Double Cream

100g Butter

2 Shallots

1 Clove Garlic

150ml White Wine

Lobster & Langoustine shells

100ml Marsala Wine

1L Langoustine cooking water.

Handful of Basil

Pinch of white pepper

1 Bay Leaf

6 Whole Peppercorns



300g ’00’ Flour

2 Eggs

2 Yolks


Grapefruit Pearls:

250ml Pink Grapefruit Juice + 100ml for storing the pearls

50g Sugar

2g Sodium Alginate

5g Calcium Gluconate

2g Xanthan Gum

1L Distilled Water (chilled)



Braised Fennel:

4 Baby Fennel

2 Clove Garlic

2 Shallots

1/2 lemon Juice

50g Butter





For the Seafood Filling:

1.  Bring a large pot of water to the boil and sprinkle in some salt and the fennel fronds.

2.  Cook the langoustine for a few minutes in the boiling water, they are cooked when the belly turns white, reserve the cooking water.

3.  Shell lobster and langoustine, reserving the shells for later.

4.  Blitz the meat with egg whites until it forms a paste.

5.  Add cream slowly then add 1 tsp salt, mix for a further minute.


For the Cannelloni:

1.  Combine flour with eggs, making a well for the eggs and then mixing with a fork.

2.  Turn out the dough on to a surface covered in clingfilm or greaseproof paper sprinkled with flour.  Knead until well combined and smooth.

3.  Allow the dough to rest for 1 hour.

4.  Use a pasta machine to roll out the pasta, all the way down to the thinnest setting.

5.  Hang the pasta out to dry – about 30mins.

6.  Blanch the pasta with boiling water for 30 seconds.

7.  Pipe langoustine and lobster mousse into the pasta.

8.  Wrap pasta into tubes, trimming any excess pasta.

9.  Steam pasta using the Thermomix – Varoma / SP2 / 4mins.

10.  Cut into 3 inch portions.


For the Bisque:

1.  Make shellfish stock (butter, shallots, garlic, white wine and shells)

2.  Add basil, lobster tomalley and puree with shells in the Thermomix – SP10 / 5mins

3.  Add stock and puree further, strain through chinois, passing the langoustine cooking water through at the same time to speed up the process.

4.  Pour the stock into a large pot, add peppercorns, bay, Marsala wine and a pinch of salt.

5.  Reduce stock by half then set to a low heat.

6.  Add in the cream.  Give the bisque a taste, if it is too strong add the white pepper and more cream.


For the Baby Fennel:

1.  Heat large sauté pan with a small amount of olive oil.

2.  Sauté shallots until they soften slightly.

3.  Add fennel and sauté for a further 2mins.

4.  Add garlic and butter and continue to sauté.

5.  Cover on low heat for 10-15mins until tender.

6.  Sprinkle with Chervil and season to taste.


For the Grapefruit Pearls:

1.  First prepare the Sodium Alginate bath by mixing the chilled distilled water, sodium alginate powder and sugar with an immersion blender – this may take several minutes.

2.  Squeeze the grapefruit and collect 250ml juice.  Add the Xanthan Gum and Calcium Gluconate and combine with an immersion blender.

3.  Pass the grapefruit mix through a sieve or chinois several times, until the foam returns to a liquid.

4.  Allow the alginate bath to rest for at least an hour or ideally overnight.

5.  Prepare another dish with some water.

6.  Using a measuring spoon or other rounded spoon gently drop as many spoonfuls of grapefruit juice into the alginate bath as you can, in 30 seconds.

7.  Give the alginate bath a stir, ensuring the pearls are covered on all sides.  “Cook” for two and a half minutes.

8.  Using a slotted spoon remove the pearls from the bath and into the dish of water.  Allow them to sit there for 30 seconds, ensuring they do not touch each other.

9.  Transfer the pearls to a jug or dish of grapefruit juice.

10.  Repeat steps 6 to 9 until all the grapefruit juice has been used or you have the required amount of pearls.

11.  Store the pearls in the grapefruit juice in the fridge for up to 3 days.



1.  Place a piece of cannelloni in the middle of the plate.

2.  Ladle the bisque around the cannelloni.

3.  Place a large tablespoon of fennel to the side of the cannelloni.

4.  Place 3 pearls on top of the cannelloni and scatter another 6 pearls around the plate.



–  I had originally planned to hold back 8 langoustine and use them as a garnish but we accidentally cooked and shelled them with the rest!   A langoustine sitting on the edge of the cannelloni would have made the plate a little more attractive.

–  The bisque may require some adjustment as I had to improvise.

–  I’d suggest using less of the langoustine cooking water, so you don’t have to reduce it as much as I did!  500ml is probably more than enough.

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