Mix of Asian and Mexican ingredients elevate this dish beyond the beans and rice

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From the April 2019 issue

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With so many ethnic restaurants in the resort area, it’s hard to believe that coastal Delaware was once a desert for global cuisine. Today, you’re likely to find Asian, Latin and other international flavors on the menus of mainstream restaurants.

And those with an ethnic twist aren’t limited to traditional ingredients. Consider the shrimp bowl at Papa Grande’s Coastal Taqueria in Fenwick Island. As expected, it’s made with black beans, rice and ancho powder. But it also has soy sauce and cilantro. The latter, a staple of Mexican cuisine, is known as coriander in Asia, where it’s also a go-to herb.

Best associated with Asian cuisine, bowl dishes — Buddha bowls, acai bowls and poke bowls — were likely inspired by the meals of Buddhist monks, who received charitable food donations in bowls. In today’s trendsetting towns, they’re associated with healthy eating.

Colorful frutti di mare is a crowd-pleaser for holiday meals

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From the Holiday 2018 issue

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As the holidays approach, many Italian-Americans along the coast are planning the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Christmas Eve meal. But ask Francesco Agostino, a native of Italy, about the meatless feast and you’ll get a puzzled look. “I’ve never heard of it,” says Agostino, the chef at Azzurro Italian Oven and Bar in Rehoboth Beach, which he owns with wife Tonya.

Perhaps that’s because Agostino comes from Turin in northern Italy, and the feast — also known as La Vigilia (“The Vigil”) — is a southern Italy inspiration. Though unfamiliar with that meal, he is well acquainted with seafood. There are meat dishes on his Azzurro menu, but seafood is the star.

The couple chose Rehoboth Beach for the restaurant’s location because it reminds them of walkable beach towns in Italy. They selected the 19th-century building — best remembered as the former home of Chez la Mer — for its character. “We didn’t want anything modern,” he says.

Combining grilled fish with autumnal ingredients creates a ‘shoulder’ season of taste

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From the October 2018 issue

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By October, many chefs are overhauling their menus to feature seasonal ingredients such as butternut squash, pumpkin, kale and chard. Entrees are hearty, and sauces get richer.

But Chef James “Jamie” Parsons, who grew up in Lewes, isn’t ready to give up on grilled fish, a summer staple. He marries swordfish with such fall flavors as maple syrup, apples and Brussels sprouts.

Given Parsons’ background, it’s not surprising that he would create such a novel dish. He’s worked for the British-born Jonathan Cartwright, a Five-Diamond awardee from AAA, at the White Barn Inn in Kennebunk, Maine, and celebrity chef and TV personality Todd English, who’s owned multiple restaurants in Boston.

“I’ve cooked my whole life, even when I was a little kid,” he says. In part, he enjoyed bringing recipes from magazines to life. But he also wanted to help his working parents. His father was in the shipping and receiving department of Barcroft Chemical, now SPI Pharma, and his mother sold manufactured homes for Colonial East.