Cannelloni des Betteraves Jaunes

1 large golden beet, sliced paper thin (you will need 18 slices)
3 tablespoons coarse sea salt

For the filling:
6 ounces (180 g) fresh (soft) goat’s milk cheese or ricotta
2 large eggs, lightly beaten (See Note)
Grated zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce:
2 bunches watercress
1/2-3/4 cup (125-180ml) crème fraîche
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly ground nutmeg, to taste

For the garnish:
Fleur de sel
Chervil or flat-leaf parsley leaves
Cheveux d’Ange peppers

1.    Arrange a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Prepare a large bowl of ice water.  Line 2 cooling racks with cotton towels.  Line a fine-mesh sieve or a colander with cheese cloth.

2.   Fill a large pot two-thirds full of water.  Add 3 tablespoons of salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

3.  When the water is boiling, lower as many slices of beet into the water as will fit without being too hard to keep track of (generally four at a time).  Blanch the beet slices until they are tender, which will take about 5 minutes.  Transfer the beets to the ice water briefly, then to the prepared rack, to drain.

4.  While the beets are blanching, place the cheese in a bowl with the eggs and the lemon zest and, using a large whisk, mix gently together until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

5.  When the beets are blanched, return the blanching water to a boil, and blanch the watercress leaves just until they wilt, 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Scoop the watercress from the boiling water, transfer it to a sieve, and plunge the sieve into the ice water.  As soon as the watercress is cold, remove it from the water and transfer it to a tea towel set on a cooling rack.

6.  To prepare the cannelloni, with a small spoon, spread about 2 teaspoons of the filling evenly over one-third of the beet slices, making sure not to go to the edges.  Carefully roll the beet slices jelly–roll fashion, and place them in the gratin dish, seam side down. Prepare the remaining cannelloni.  Place the cannelloni in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Pour about 14/cup (60ml) water around the cannelloni, cover with aluminum foil, and bake in the oven until the cannelloni are warm, about 20 minutes.

7.   While the cannelloni are baking, puree the watercress with ½ cup cream in a food processor. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan and warm it gently over medium heat. When the sauce is warm, season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add additional creme fraiche if the sauce is to thick.

8.  When the cannelloni are cooked, remove them from the oven.  Transfer three cannelloni to each of 6 warmed plates.  Garnish with watercress sauce and cheveaux d’ange peppers.

Serve immediately.
6 servings

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