Local ingredients, zesty dressing enhance Jim Lewis’s colorful presentation

Intro by Pam George | Photograph by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
From the July 2021 issue


Growing up in Berlin, Md., Jim Lewis was interested in agriculture, and he worked in landscaping as a teen. But when he hit the line in a restaurant kitchen, he began viewing plants through a culinary lens. Today, he is the executive chef at Sedona in Bethany Beach. “I use local ingredients whenever they are available,” says Lewis, who was the opening chef at five area restaurants before coming to Sedona.

The chef, who gives classic recipes a signature twist, has landed at the right spot. Sedona, which opened in 1993, is known for its compelling flavor profiles — one of Lewis’s specialties. Consider his roasted grape salad with basil green goddess dressing. This is hardly your grandmother’s dressing. Green goddess, reportedly named after a 1921 play, is often made with tarragon and chives. Lewis uses basil and avocado to achieve the telltale hue.

The salad gets a boost from peppery arugula, pungent blue cheese and licoricey fennel. Lewis prefers Danish blue cheese because it crumbles into soft pieces. If you prefer some salad ingredients more than others, take liberty with the ingredient amounts, he says.

Feel free to add a meat or fish, he says. Tip: If you’re using a frozen protein, such as shrimp, completely thaw it before cooking to retain the texture and flavor.


(Serves 4-6 depending on the size of the plate) 

For the dressing:

1⁄4  cup of seasoned rice wine vinegar

tablespoons of light brown sugar

tablespoons of chopped fresh basil

egg yolk

1⁄4  of an avocado

1⁄2  teaspoon each of salt and pepper

1⁄2  cup of olive oil blend (olive oil and another oil, such as canola or grapeseed oils)

STEP 1 Blend the first six ingredients in a food processor.

STEP 2 Slowly stream the oil into the processor while it’s blending.

For the salad:

1 1⁄2   cup of seedless red and green grapes (equal amounts)

Garlic powder

Olive oil

small shallot

1⁄2   of a small fennel bulb, cored and trimmed  of stalks

ounces (8 cups) of lightly packed fresh  arugula

ounces of Danish blue cheese

1⁄2   cup of shelled, toasted sunflower seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

STEP 1 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

STEP 2 Lightly coat grapes in olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste and place on a baking tray.

STEP 3 Roast grapes until they get soft and juicy, about 15 to 20 minutes.

STEP 4 Using a mandoline or by hand, thinly slice the shallot and fennel.

STEP 5 Toss the arugula in the green goddess dressing. 

STEP 6 Place the arugula in the center of the plate. Top with grapes, fennel, shallots and cheese. Sprinkle sunflower seeds on top. n