If you’ve ever been to a Rock Lobster restaurant in Toronto, you may have tried their famous cocktail. It’s a feast for the eyes; a spicy Caesar garnished with a Nova Scotia lobster tail and all the regular fixings.
If you’ve ever been to a Rock Lobster restaurant in Toronto, you may have tried their famous cocktail. It’s a feast for the eyes; a spicy Caesar garnished with a Nova Scotia lobster tail and all the regular fixings. It’s one of the many tasty creations by chef and owner Matt Dean Pettit who has earned a name for himself as Toronto’s new, hip seafood aficionado. His restaurants serve up downhome coastal fare — lobster poutine, jerk crab and shrimp, Canadian snow crab legs, traditional Nova Scotian lobster rolls — in a laidback setting where you’re meant to get your hands dirty.
That’s the theme behind his new cookbook; in The Great Lobster Cookbook, Pettit is shucking the idea of seafood as something extravagant and showing Canadians how to create mouth-watering, family-friendly dishes effortlessly. (And p.s. it’s actually quite affordable compared to a holiday roast menu!)
We asked Pettit to share his best tips on creating a stress-free seafood menu, whether he’s hosting a small dinner for 4 or a big party for 12. The key to a successful party — that the host can enjoy too — is all in the prep work and choosing no-fuss menu items. Here’s how to do it.
The Drink: Greet people at the door with a Caesar cocktail (or mocktail), or a beer such as Samuel Adams. Cheers!
1. Raw oysters, three per person. You can shuck oysters a couple hours ahead of time and keep on ice in the fridge. Serve with a lemon wedge per plate.
2. Cooked large prawns, three per person. Serve with Matty’s Seafood Sauce (1/2 cup quality ketchup, 1/4 strained horseradish, juice of 1 lemon, 4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper).
The Main: Lobster mac ‘n cheese. Prep this recipe the night before, either in individual ramekins or in a large casserole dish to serve family style. Top with panko breadcrumbs and refrigerate overnight. During appetizers, pop the lobster mac ‘n cheese into the oven at 375°F for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and brown before serving. Get the recipe here.
The Dessert: Mint granita. Another easy-to-make recipe from The Great Lobster Cookbook that you can make ahead of time — and this one will keep up to 2 weeks in the freezer. This frozen dessert calls for 1/3 cup mint leaves finely chopped and added to 2 cups boiled water to infuse for 10 minutes before freezing. Make sure to break up the mixture a few times every hour to get the consistency of fine ice crystals.