by Chef Brandon Bannon, photography by Clay Dolan

 Located in the heart of Markdale, Marilynne Restaurant is named in honour of Chef Brandon Bannon’s grandmother, who in the 1960s, left the city with her husband Bob, for a simpler life on a farm near Dundalk. Inspired by fond memories of family gatherings, Marilynne Restaurant embodies the values of simplicity and connection to the land—fresh, nourishing, and made with love. 

Committed to farm-to-table dining, both in the restaurant and at home, Marilynne Restaurant offers a boutique marketplace featuring locally sourced goods. 

As spring unfolds, Chef Brandon shares with us a few seasonal delights, ranging from crisp salads to hearty mains and decadent desserts. These recipes capture the essence of Marilynne, showcasing fresh, locally sourced ingredients that reflect the finest flavours of the season. 


This time of year, many of us crave the freshness that only seasonal produce can bring. Asparagus, a personal favourite of mine during May and June, is versatile and can be utilized beyond its traditional role as a side vegetable. Grilled asparagus salad, drizzled with a warm shallot vinaigrette and delicate shavings of gouda, is a dish that promises to be as delightful as an appetizer as it is an accompaniment to your main course. Serves 4.

1 shallot, minced (or substitute with red onion)
1 tbsp grainy mustard (we prefer Kozlik’s Triple Crunch)
2 tbsp butter, cubed
1 tbsp capers, whole
zest and juice of 1 lemon
pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp honey (optional, for balancing acidity) 

2 bunches asparagus, ends trimmed
2 hardboiled eggs, peeled and grated
30g (approx. 4 tbsp) grated gouda cheese (we prefer Golden Blythe Sheep Gouda)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch of kosher salt
½ cup croutons (store-bought or homemade)


1. Melt butter in a pot over low heat. Add shallots and cook gently until translucent (2-4 minutes).
2. Slowly incorporate the remaining dressing ingredients, stirring into the butter.
3. Allow to cook for an additional minute to meld the flavours. The dressing can be made ahead and reheated for convenience. 

1. Preheat your BBQ to medium/high heat (475-500°F).
2. Grill asparagus for 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally for even cooking and grill marks.
3. Once grilled, immediately dress the asparagus with olive oil and a pinch of salt.
4. Arrange asparagus on a plate, reheat the dressing if made ahead, and drizzle over the asparagus.
5. Garnish with grated egg, crumbled croutons for crunch, and generously shave gouda cheese on top.


Accompanied by a side of perfectly roasted potatoes, this dish celebrates the arrival of spring with its bright flavours and satisfying textures. The charred spring onion pesto, rich with herbs and a tangy zest, complements the succulent lamb beautifully, while roasted potatoes offer a crispy, aromatic side. Whether it’s a casual backyard gathering or a more formal spring feast, this recipe promises to be a centerpiece that delights and satisfies. Serves 4.

1 bunch spring onions, grilled (or substitute 1 cup blanched ramp greens)
1 cup spinach, blanched and drained
1 bunch basil, leaves picked
1 clove garlic, peeled
½ lemon, zest and juice
2 tsp smooth Dijon mustard
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup cold-pressed canola oil
kosher salt and pepper to taste 

1 rack of lamb (we prefer Buschbeck Farms lamb)
2 tbsp charred spring onion pesto
salt and pepper to taste 

1 lb baby potatoes or russet, cleaned
5 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 cloves of garlic
3 bay leaves
4 tbsp kosher salt
cold water to cover
4 tbsp pork lard or substitute butter (we prefer Good Family Farms lard)
rosemary and thyme sprigs for frying 


1. In a food processor, combine toasted seeds, garlic, Parmesan, and Dijon mustard until finely chopped.
2. Add grilled spring onions (or ramp greens), spinach, basil, lemon zest, and juice, along with red wine vinegar.
3. Process, slowly drizzling in olive and canola oils until the mixture emulsifies into a vibrant, green pesto. 

1. Coat the lamb rack lightly with the pesto and season with salt and pepper.
2. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
3. Grill to your preferred doneness, ideally removing from the grill at 114°F to rest until it reaches 130°F. 

1. Simmer potatoes with thyme, rosemary, garlic, bay leaves, and salt in water until fork-tender.
2. Drain and let cool.
3. In a frying pan, heat pork lard (or butter) with additional herbs and garlic.
4. Crush potatoes slightly and fry until crispy.
5. Season with salt. 


Reminiscent of the sweet treats served by Marilynne herself, this tender shortcake is soaked in macerated strawberries and topped with a dollop of whipped cream, creating a dessert that’s irresistible. Best of all, this recipe is a breeze to prepare ahead of time, allowing you to effortlessly impress your guests. Freeze the raw shortcakes in a resealable bag or freezer-safe container, ready to be baked at a moment’s notice. Yields 8 shortcakes.

575g all-purpose flour
15g baking powder
8g baking soda
10g salt
30g granulated white sugar
30g brown sugar
500ml cold buttermilk
115g butter
zest of ½ lemon
1 tbsp vanilla extract
flour for dusting your worktop

1 egg yolk
30 ml cold water
pinch of kosher salt
100g white sugar for dusting

1. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2. Melt butter and stir it into the ice-cold buttermilk until it forms tiny butter pebbles. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly add wet to dry, stirring gently with a wooden spoon until a moist dough is formed.
3. On a clean, dry surface lightly dusted with extra flour, shape the dough into an even circle about an inch thick. Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut out cakes. Scraps can be reshaped into more cakes.
4. On a lined baking sheet, place the cakes spaced evenly apart. Mix together egg yolk, water, and salt. Brush on top of cakes with a pastry brush. Sprinkle sugar on top.
5. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

1 quart fresh strawberries, topped and sliced
½ cup granulated sugar
pinch kosher salt
zest of 1 lemon 

Slice strawberries and toss them with remaining ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. This step is best done well before you want to use them, to allow the strawberries and sugar time to form their own syrup. 

2 cups 35% cream (we prefer Miller’s Dairy)
1 oz Amaro Nonino (a unique Italian bitter liqueur)
3 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract 

1. In a larger mixer, or with a whisk and a bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form.
2. Add remaining ingredients and continue to whip until the cream tightens to your desired consistency.