If you live in the New York City area and have never visited the Homestead Inn in Greenwich Connecticut you MUST. It is one of the most charming inns in the world and believe me, I have been to quite a few, especially in Europe. Although I haven't been there in almost 15 years, I am sure none of the charm has disappeared and, if nothing else, the food is better than ever, thanks to the presence of Chef Thomas Henkelmann who in the late 1990's acquired the 1799 inn together with his wife Theresa. Chef Henkelmann did his internship at the Auberge de L'Ill in Illhausern, Alsace which, in my time, was considered one of the best restaurants in the world. For years it was in my short list of places to visit and finally in the 1990's I was able to get there for a fabulous lunch. It is not the easiest place to get to as it is in a small town on the border with Germany and you must have a car and a deep sense of commitment. If you do get there someday, the first thing you must look for are the storks whose nests are visible on the chimneys and who parade themselves in the garden while you are having lunch. We spent a delightful afternoon not only enjoying a fabulous meal but also having coffee in the garden by the river.
The Homestead Inn
The Homestead Inn, a member of Relais & Chateaux, is less than an hour's drive from New York or you can get there by train to Greenwich and a short cab ride from the station to the inn. It is a wonderful place to visit for Sunday lunch or, better yet, come on Saturday for dinner and stay overnight. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. Do check for Sunday lunch service though, as it is not available year round. In my day, you could eat in the enclosed air conditioned porch. If this is still the case, I highly recommend it.
The porch at the Inn where cocktails are served
In this recipe, I recommend using the ready to bake Barilla lasagna sheets or ready made crepes. If you have frozen lobster stock, like I do from the lobster risotto, you are halfway there. This is why I always tell you to keep and freeze everything, especially stock. If not, buy a lobster tail and make the stock with some onion, celery, tarragon, saffron and parsley. Whisk in the butter.
Total time: 1hr to 2hr
Preheat the oven at 200° C. (400° F)
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
Ingredients for 8 servings
- 500 g (18 oz.) jumbo lump Crabmeat
- 100 g (3 1/2 oz.) diced blanched Leeks
- 100 ml (6 tbsp.) Béchamel sauce
- 20 g (2/3 oz.) fresh chopped tarragon
- Salt, pepper and cayenne
- 8 crêpes or cooked pasta sheets
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) heavy cream + 125 ml (1/2 cup) water
- 200 ml (3/4 cup) lobster stock flavored with tarragon and Saffron
- 80 g (1/3 cup) butter to whisk into the lobster stock
- + 20 g (4 tsp.) to sauté the spinach
- 50 g (2 tbsp.) Parmigiano Reggiano
- 300 g (10 oz.) spinach
- 8 sprigs of tarragon and some diced tomato for garnish
1.Combine the crabmeat with the warm béchamel sauce, leeks and tarragon. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne.
2.Place 1/8 of the crabmeat mixture onto each pasta sheet and roll into a tight cannelloni.
3.Place the cannelloni side by side in a deep ovenproof dish. Pour a mixture of half cream and half water into the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the grated cheese over top.
4.Place the cannelloni into a preheated 200° C (400° F) oven and bake for approximately 10-15 minutes until the top is lightly browned.
5.Sauté the leaf spinach in butter, season with salt and pepper and place in the centre of a warm serving dish.
6.Place the cannelloni on top of the spinach. Garnish with a tarragon sprig and some diced tomato. Carefully spoon the saffron-scented lobster jus around it.
Try preparing the cannelloni with crêpes instead of pasta
Adapted from The Worldwide Gourmet