Chimichurri sauce enlivens a grilling favorite

Intro by Pam George | Photographs by Scott Nathan
From the May 2017 issue

may-recipe Coastal Cuisine - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #9Seafood is a natural menu choice at the beach. But in Jonathan Spivak’s experience, coastal diners are just as interested in the unusual as the expected. He should know. The restaurant veteran is the former owner of Sedona in Bethany Beach, Fusion in Rehoboth Beach and Salt Air, which is located in Fusion’s Wilmington Avenue space.

Even as early as 1993, the year Sedona opened, he served wild game. And many coastal diners appreciate a juicy steak, even if they’re steps from the ocean.

Spivak, who lives near Bethany Beach in the Salt Pond community, is now the owner of Home on Your Range, which provides customized dinner parties, typically for six to 12 people. One of his favorite dishes to prepare is grilled New York steak with chimichurri sauce, which he often serves family style. The fresh green herbs are a vivid addition, and you can buy them from local vendors at farmers markets. The uncooked sauce’s lemon, vinegar and garlic create a bright note that’s perfect for spring. Serve it with red potatoes and carrots for an additional pop of color.

It’s not surprising that Spivak would create a pretty plate. He’s also an abstract artist, a passion that he pursued after being successfully treated for stage 3 lymphoma. (He sold Salt Air in 2011 due to his illness.)

Now that it’s time for everyone to dust off their grills, add this dish to your Memorial Day menu. Much of the prep is done before guests arrive.

The chimichurri sauce is also good with lamb, pork, chicken and, for die-hard pescatarians, a meaty fish, such as halibut.

Clams, Corn and Cashews

Intro by Pam George  |  Photograph by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
From the July 2016 issue

Julyrecipe Coastal Cuisine - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #9City life didn’t agree with Jordan Miller. “I grew up on the beach,” says Miller, who was 2 years old when his family moved from Clifton, Texas, to Long Beach Island, N.J. “I left to work as a chef in multiple cities, but the beach was in my veins — I can’t kick it.”

When he spotted an online ad for an executive chef at Heirloom, then a soon-to-open restaurant in Lewes, he didn’t hesitate to contact owner Meghan Lee. Turns out they had much in common. Lee was the opening manager of Talula’s Garden in Philadelphia, which debuted in 2011. At that time, Miller was a chef at Milk & Honey Market in Philadelphia’s University City neighborhood. Both Lee and Miller share a passion for menus that change with the seasons and feature as many local ingredients as possible. They hit it off, and Heirloom opened late last year. Even on a winter weekend, it was challenging to get a table.

A recipe from the late Matt Haley: uncomplicated, rich and smokily sweet

Intro by Pam George  |  Photograph by Scott Nathan
From the August 2015 issue

recipe-peaches Coastal Cuisine - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #9As a food writer, I could always count on Matt Haley for a recipe, a quote or an opinion — on just about anything. The coastal chef-restaurateur and I became friendly over the phone, but I didn’t meet him in person until around 2006, when I told him I’d never been to the Historic Lewes Farmers Market. Without hesitation, he offered to take me, and I met him in the CVS parking lot on Route 1 one Saturday morning and climbed into his pickup truck. 

Once on the grounds of the Lewes Historical Society, where the market is held, we stopped at the table of a vendor, whom he knew by name. Haley picked up a bunch of thyme. I was not a fan, I said. It took too much time to chop. He gently ran his fingers down a stem, pulling against the tiny leaves, which fluttered like petals to the table. It was that easy. 

Then again, Haley always made cooking seem approachable. The chef, who learned the culinary arts in a post-prison vocational program and worked his way up from minimum-wage earner to restaurant owner, preferred a straightforward approach to pretty much everything. In his eight restaurants, grouped under the SoDel Concepts umbrella, he looked for ways to enhance an ingredient’s flavor without overwhelming it. He also appreciated comfort foods. The first special-occasion dish he ever made was fettuccine carbonara, and he kept the blackened skillet in which he made it. Deviled eggs, Brussels sprouts, white beans, fried chicken and fried oysters were menu staples, but he gave them a kick. Deviled eggs, for instance, might come with a scrapple chip. Chicken was bathed in buttermilk before frying and served with ham-and-corn gravy.

He was always experimenting. In the early years at Bluecoast Seafood Grill, Haley’s first restaurant in the group, he would burst into the restaurant’s kitchen with bags of ingredients purchased along the route from his house in Rehoboth Beach Yacht & Country Club to North Bethany. (Haley knew about all the small farm stands in the area.) “I have fond memories of spending hours upon hours with Matt,” says Doug Ruley, then the chef at Bluecoast and now the corporate chef and vice president of SoDel Concepts. “We would be two chefs creating in our happy place, always bouncing ideas and flavors off each other.”