4 Fresh, Sensational Recipes to Try in Delaware This Summer

Photo courtesy of SoDel Concepts

Try out light and bright recipes from the pros this season with these recipes from Delaware chefs and restaurants.

Come warmer weather, chefs switch up their menus to showcase seasonal ingredients. These recipes can help you create your own farm-to-table concept at home.

Macadamia-Encrusted Black Bass

Caffe Gelato’s executive chef Jeovany Valle creates a light summer dish with sea bass fillets encrusted in macadamia nuts./Photo by Christina Peters

When it comes to summer dishes, Jeovany Valle is all about color and texture. The executive chef at Caffe Gelato in Newark pairs this fish with sweet peas and carrots (side dish recipe available online) for a vibrant dish that is simply beautiful.

Serving: (serves 2)

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For the fish

2 7-ounce sea bass fillets, skin off (can use halibut)
2 to 3 tablespoons grapeseed or blended oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 cup of chopped macadamia nuts, toasted


Add oil to a sauté pan and heat to medium. Sear the bass in the pan for 6 minutes. Do not flip. Add butter and thyme. Cook, basting the fish with the warm herb butter, for 3 more minutes or until done. Set aside. Sprinkled with the chopped macadamia nuts. (To toast nuts, put them on a preheated dry pan over medium-high heat. Stir until aromatic.)

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Sweet Pea and Mint Purée, Baby Carrots and Crispy Pancetta
For the sweet pea purée with mint

2 quarts fish broth (can substitute chicken)
3 cups of fresh peas (can use frozen)
20 leaves of fresh mint


Have an ice bath ready. Bring the broth to a boil. Add the peas and mint and boil for 2 minutes. Move the peas to an ice bath so they retain color. Set aside about 1 cup of the fish broth and 8 whole peas, which you’ll use later for garnish.

Purée the cool peas, mint leaves and ½ cup of the reserved broth until smooth.

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For the baby carrots and pancetta

8 baby carrots
The rest of the reserved fish broth or water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup pancetta, chopped


Fill a saucepan with lightly salted water or use the broth. Blanche the carrots for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the water immediately. Melt the butter in a separate pan and pour over the carrots.

Sauté pancetta in a separate pan until it’s crisp. Let it rest to use for garnish.

To serve:

Using a tablespoon, put the purée in the center of each plate and spread it in a circle. Top with the seared sea bass. Add the carrots and garnish the fish with the whole cooked peas and pancetta.

Barbecue-Spiced Duck Breast

Many people think of duck as a fall dish, but for Andrew Gaffney, duck is a preferred summer meal. “It’s something I still cook and want to eat on a warm day,” the executive chef of Palate in Rehoboth Beach says. “It won’t weigh you down.”

Serving: (serves 2)


For the spice rub and duck

10 grams coriander seed
10 grams fennel seed
10 grams smoked paprika
20 grams brown sugar
10 grams granulated sugar
20 grams salt
2 duck breasts, about 8 ounces each, trimmed
Oil for sautéing


Toast the coriander and fennel seeds in a medium-hot pan for about 2 minutes until they’re aromatic. Transfer the seeds to a mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix together. (You can use a spice grinder if you wish.) Season the duck with the spice.

Preheat a sauté pan and add a light amount of oil. Heat to medium-high. Once the pan is hot, add the seasoned duck breast with the skin down. While the duck cooks, it will render fat. Continuously baste the meat with the fat. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes. Flip and let if finish for 90 seconds. Remove and reserve some of the duck fat for the chard

Sweet Corn Polenta and Swiss Chard

For the corn polenta

1/2 cup of cornmeal
2 cups whole milk
1 cup water
4 ounces butter
2 corn on the cob, shucked and stripped
Salt to taste


Toast the cornmeal without any oil in a medium-hot pan for about 3 to 4 minutes. Don’t let it burn. Add the milk, water and butter and whisk until everything is combined. Add the shucked and stripped corn niblets. Season with salt.

For the Swiss chard

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard, rolled into a cigar shape and sliced
1/2 cup of prepared vegetable or chicken stock (optional)


In a new pan, add some of the reserved duck fat. Cook the garlic until it’s golden brown.

Add the Swiss chard. Cook until it’s wilted and tender. Add the stock while the chard is cooking if you want to bump up the flavor.

Insalata Caprese Alla Toscana

Brighten up the dinner table with Dan Butler’s Insalata Caprese Alla Toscana. The Piccolina Toscana owner’s rendition includes watermelon radishes for a little extra color and flavor./Photo by Christina Peters

A caprese salad celebrates fresh ingredients enjoyed at their peak, says Dan Butler, owner of Piccolina Toscana in Trolley Square and Brandywine Prime Seafood & Chops in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Traditionally, the recipe focuses on tomatoes, buffalo milk mozzarella, basil and good olive oil, but Butler likes to dress it up to “make it extra special.”

Serving: (serves 6)


1 pound fresh, ripe local tomatoes, cut into cubes
1 pound heirloom tomatoes, cut into cubes
1 pound burrata (an Italian cow milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream) or fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
1 head radicchio, torn
1 bunch (4 ounces) arugula, torn
1 bunch (2 ounces) fresh basil, mostly torn but reserve some whole leaves for garnish
4 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3 watermelon radishes, sliced for garnish


16 1-inch focaccia croutons
12 ounces cannellini beans
12 ounces sweet corn, stripped from the cob


Combine tomatoes, burrata, radicchio, arugula, torn basil and any of the optional ingredients of your choice. Drizzle with olive oil. Season to taste. Garnish with radishes and whole basil leaves.

You can find the following heirloom tomatoes in season at SIW Vegetables in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania:

Brandywine (Butler’s sentimental favorite)
Top Secret
Cherry sweethearts
Red Snapper

Chimichurri Grilled Prawns

For Brenton Lyman, grilled food is the perfect summer fare. The executive chef at Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar in Bethany Beach isn’t limited to meat or poultry. He also grills prawns and serves them with a spicy chimichurri.

“The flavors in this dish are complex but not overbearing,” he says. “It’s easy to execute and will wow guests at a dinner party.”

Grilled prawns paired with a spicy chimichurri make for an easy and flavorful dinner, created by Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar executive chef Brenton Lyman./Photo courtesy of SoDel Concepts

Serving: (serves 2)


For the chimichurri and prawns

1 bunch parsley
4 ounces oregano
1 bunch of green onions — save 2 inches of the white ends for side dish vinaigrette (recipe available online)
4 cloves garlic
2 to 3 red jalapeños, cut in half and deseeded (green jalapeños are fine)
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound of prawns or the largest shrimp available


Add all the vegetables to a food processor and pulse five times. Add the red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Pulse five more times.

Slowly add the olive oil into the food processor and continue pulsing until it reaches the preferred consistency.

If you do not have a food processor, finely chop the ingredients and mix the vegetables in a bowl. Slowly add the vinegar and then olive oil.

Meanwhile, wash the prawns or shrimp in cold water. Use scissors to cut the back and remove the vein.

Add enough chimichurri to the shrimp to marinate them. Reserve enough of the sauce for presentation and to use as a dip. (You can also use the extra on meat dishes.)

Grill the shrimp, being careful not to overcook them. (If you do, they get rubbery.)


Summer Squash with Honey-Champagne Vinaigrette 

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
The reserved whites of the green onions
½ cup of Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons of honey
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3 yellow squash, small to medium
3 green zucchini, small to medium


Add the Dijon mustard and green onion white tips to blender. As you start to blend, add the vinegar and keep blending until smooth. Add the honey, then slowly add the oil until the liquids are incorporated together (emulsify). Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Cut the ends off the squash and peel lengthwise to create long ribbons. (You can use a spiralizer.) Once the seeds are showing, rotate and repeat the process on each side.

Mix with 2 ounces—or more—of vinaigrette to coat. (Do not cook the squash.)

To serve:

Create a swoosh of chimichurri on each plate in big circles. Spoon the squash onto the plate. Place the prawns on top of the “noodles.”

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