Squab and Lobster with Kabocha Squash and Rosemary Beignets

Kabocha squash is a Japanese pumpkin. It is sweeter, drier and less fibrous than other squash. If you cannot find Kabocha squash, butternut squash would make an ideal substitute. After you cook the lobster, set aside the knuckle meat to make the beignets.

1 Kabocha squash, 8 oz
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 sprig thyme, leaves picked off and stems discarded
4 tsp olive oil
1 sprig rosemary, leaves stripped off and very finely chopped
1 oz pine nuts, toasted
Lobster knuckle meat from squab and lobster
7 oz pasta dough (recipe available in cookbook)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
4 cups vegetable oil for deep frying

BEIGNETS: Preheat the oven to 275°f. Cut squash in quarters and remove seeds. Place the squash onto a large sheet of aluminum foil and sprinkle with garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Drizzle the squash with olive oil. Fold up the ends of the foil to form a parcel and place it in the oven for 1½ to 2 hours. When squash is soft, scoop out all the flesh and pass it through a fine sieve. Set aside.

8 cups court bouillon (recipe available in cookbook)
2 lobsters, 1 lb each
2 squabs, 1 lb each
2 Tbsp olive oil
21/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 sprigs thyme
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups cold water
1 tsp tomato paste
4 tsp brandy
5 1/2 oz baby spinach

SQUAB AND LOBSTER: Bring court bouillon to a boil, add lobsters and remove from heat immediately. Allow to cool for 1 hour, uncovered.

Remove wing tips and neck from squab and set these trimmings aside. Cut each squab down both sides of the breastbone and straight through the carcass to form two halves. Coarsely chop the central bones left behind.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tsp of the olive oil and 2 tsp of the butter on high heat. Add squab trimmings, including the chopped bones, and roast on the stove until golden brown, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add 1 sprig of thyme and half of each of the carrot, onion, celery and garlic. Continue to roast for another 6 to 8 minutes. Cover with 2 cups of cold water, bring to a boil and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Remove the lobsters from the bouillon. Crack the shells and remove the meat from the tails, claws and knuckles, reserving the shells. Wash the heads thoroughly to remove all entrails. Set the lobster meat aside in the refrigerator.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tsp of the olive oil and 2 tsp of the butter on high heat. Add lobster shells and roast on the stove for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the remaining sprig of thyme and the remaining half of the carrot, celery, onion and garlic, and continue to roast for another 6 to 8 minutes. Add tomato paste and brandy, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Cover with the remaining 2 cups of cold water, bring to a boil and then simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Strain both stocks through cheesecloth and combine them in a large saucepan. Heat on medium heat and allow to reduce to the consistency of cream, about 20 minutes. Keep this sauce warm on low heat.

Preheat the oven to 400°f. In a large, ovenproof sauté pan on high heat, combine 2 tsp of the olive oil and 2 tsp of the butter. Season squab with salt and pepper and add to the pan, skin-side down. Brown for 2 minutes, then turn the squab over and place the pan in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and separate the squab legs from the breasts. Return the legs to the pan and the pan to the oven for a further 4 minutes while the breasts rest at room temperature.

Cut lobster tail in half lengthwise. Place all of the lobster meat in the sauce and warm on low heat for 6 to 8 minutes until the lobster is heated through. Remove the lobster meat and whisk the remaining 4 tsp of cold butter into the sauce to finish. Chop the lobster knuckle meat for the beignets.

TO SERVE: Place squash in a large bowl. Fold in rosemary, pine nuts and chopped lobster knuckle meat.

Roll out pasta into two sheets, each 12 inches x 6 inches and the thickness of a dime. Along the centre line of one pasta sheet, spoon eight portions of the squash mixture about 1½ inches apart.

Lightly beat together egg, egg yolk and a pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Brush the edges of the pasta and between the fillings with egg wash. Lay the second sheet on top and press along the edges and between the fillings to seal. Cut the pasta between the fillings to yield eight ravioli.

Heat oil in a deep fryer to 400°f. Add ravioli and fry for 3 minutes. Remove from the oil and allow them to drain on paper towels.

In a small sauté pan, heat 2 tsp of olive oil on high heat. Add spinach and sauté for 30 to 45 seconds until just wilted.
Heap a quarter of the spinach just off the centre of each of four plates. Carve a squab breast from the bone and cut it in half on a bias. Place the breast on the spinach and lean a squab leg against it. Opposite the squab, place half a lobster tail and top with a claw. Drizzle 4 tsp of sauce overtop and top with two squash beignets.

Serves 4.
Suggested Wine: This outstanding dish calls for a grand wine and is an opportunity to pull out that powerful and silky smooth aged grand cru red burgundy from the cellar. Vineyards from the Côte de Nuits that would make a memorable pairing would be Chambertin, Le Musigny, Echézeaux or Clos de la Roche.

Cookbook available at Barbara Jo’s Books to Cooks.