Chef Mark McEwan is one of Toronto’s most successful chefs, with a food empire that includes Toronto restaurants ONE, North 44, Bymark and Fabricca, a catering company, gourmet food shops and a national cookware line - not to mention a judging gig on the culinary competition series Chopped Canada.
So, where does Mark go to unwind from his busy schedule? He heads north, to his custom-build waterfront cottage on Georgian Bay. “We love to get up here as much as we can, especially in the summer,” says the married father of two grown children, who loves paddle boarding on the bay and designed his home with gorgeous floor-to-ceiling window views of the water.
With New Zealand’s Stoneleigh wines, Mark hosted a private dinner this spring for contest winner Jodie Harrison of Ottawa and five of her friends. Assisted by his restaurant staff, he prepared a scrumptious five-course menu, which included Fogo island cod with piperade, smoked cod croquette, white anchovy and marcona almond; ricotta and sweet pea ravioli with brown butter, spring mushrooms ragout and pecorino; and banana cream pie with peanut shortbread crust.
But he started the evening with lobster spoons, a signature dish from ONE that has been on the menu from the very beginning.“We dared take it off the menu once but our customers weren’t having it,” Mark recalls with a laugh. Here, he shares the recipe for the bite-sized appetizers, along with your choice of wine pairing from Stoneleigh.
Nova Scotia Lobster Spoons
- 1 Nova Scotia Yarmouth lobster, about 1½ lb, par-cooked and shelled (instruction below)
- ½ pinch salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp dry vermouth
- 1 lb (450 g) cold butter, cubed
- Leaves 1 sprig cilantro, halved or roughly chopped
1.To prepare the beurre monte, over medium heat, heat the vermouth in a saucepan until it begins to bubble, and then lower heat. Add a piece of butter and whisk until it emulsifies. Continue adding butter, a piece at a time, until all the butter is incorporated. Keep warm at a temperature between 160º and 180º F to preserve the emulsion.
2. Cut the par-cooked lobster (see instruction below) into small bite-size pieces. Add to the beurre monte and cook until heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season.
3. Arrange 12 Chinese porcelain soup spoons on a platter or two. Dress each spoon with a pinch of cilantro, and then divide lobster evenly among the spoons. Drizzle a little extra beurre monte on top, and serve.
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1 live Nova Scotia Yarmouth lobster
1.Bring 8 quartz cold water to a boil in a pot large enough to accommodate the lobster. Add vinegar and remove from the heat.
2. Add lobster, cover and 2 minutes later remove with a pair of tongs. With a kitchen cloth, twist off the claws and return them to the pot for an additional 5 minutes. Detach the tail from the body. Twist off the tail fan, insert a thumb, and push out the lobster meat. Remove knuckles from claws. Pull down the pincer and move it from side to side. It should detach with the cartilage attached, leaving the claw intact. Crack the claw shell and remove claw meat. Cut knuckles with kitchen shears and remove knuckle meat.
3. Refrigerate the lobster meat until needed.
2015 Stoneleigh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($17.95, available year-round)
This Sauvignon Blanc displays lifted tropical fruit aromatics, with passionfruit, grapefruit and citrus blossom characters. It’s best served slightly chilled on its own or with delicate white meat or seafood dishes.
Stoneleigh Latitude Sauvignon Blanc ($21.95, a limited edition offered through
This Sauvignon Blanc exhibits aromas of tropical fruit, fresh pineapple and passionfruit with underlying citrus notes, which follow through to a palate of tropical fruit and grapefruit zest. Best served lightly chilled, it’s a fantastic kiwi BBQ wine that could also be enjoyed with warm chicken salad or seafood dishes.