Marie's Kitchen: Taking lunch in The Boardroom


For quite some time, I’ve watched renovations in preparation for the opening of The Boardroom Restaurant — a new lunch and dinner venue in Bethany Beach west of Route 1 in the shopping center between Wawa and Valero. When I received a call from my dear friend, Loretta Conti Montone (who was highlighted in this column in November 2012), telling me that her daughter, Blair, is manager of The Boardroom, I called Blair to let her know that we were headed there for lunch.

Special to the Coastal Point • Marie Cook: Special to the Coastal Point • Marie Cook Marie Cook poses with Loretta Conti Montone in The Boardroom in Bethany Beach. Chef Tedy prepared different dishes for them and supplied recipes as well.Special to the Coastal Point • Marie Cook
Special to the Coastal Point • Marie Cook Marie Cook poses with Loretta Conti Montone in The Boardroom in Bethany Beach. Chef Tedy prepared different dishes for them and supplied recipes as well.

Little did I know what Chef Tedy had planned for us! He prepared a half-dozen of his signature menu items, and Loretta and I accepted them all with open arms (open mouths doesn’t sound as nice, but it’s certainly more accurate). You know how kids love show-and-tell-time? Well, I’m here with my own version, called taste-and-tell.

Chef Tedy is a local guy, born in Lewes. Although he’s been in the restaurant business since he was 16 years old, he didn’t take an interest in cooking until he was 24. He decided to become a chef because of the love his mother put into every meal.

“Pay attention to who cooks for you when you are young — someone who loves you, someone who cares about you,” he said. “Cooking is love, and I love to cook!”

Anthony Antonini, from Wayne, Pa., the owner of The Boardroom, decided to open his restaurant in Bethany Beach because he saw an opportunity to put a restaurant with reasonably priced food in a beautiful area to serve locals, as well as summer visitors and home owners.

“He knew they would appreciate a place where they could eat on- or off-season more than just once per week,” Tedy said. “he also wanted to open an american bistro-Style Restaurant/Bar with a hometown feel.”

Why is the restaurant named The Boardroom? That’s still a mystery — stay tuned!

Chef Tedy’s signature dish is what he refers to as “my simple hamburger.” Well, folks, there was nothing “simple” about the delicious Boardroom Burger that Tedy served to us. When you pull into the restaurant’s parking lot, you can smell the wood fire burning. He grills his burgers over a mixture of woods — cherry, oak and maple. Our burger was served on a delicious brioche bun and topped with gruyere cheese and a crisp baked onion ring.

Tedy said, “It seems like an odd choice for a signature dish for a classically trained French chef, but sometimes some of the best things are the simple things.”

Of course, he’s super-fussy about the quality of the blend of meats he uses for the burgers, as well as how the burgers are formed. Chicken and steaks are also cooked on the wood grill.

Tedy and his family enjoy cooking together at home.

“We usually cook together as a family,” he said. “We talk, laugh, and usually nibble as we go.” He particularly enjoys cooking seafood — scallops with a split pea risotto, or pan-seared softshell crabs with white cheddar grits.

The first dish to arrive at our table was Chef Tedy’s Chorizo Mussels: 20 tasty little mussels nestled in a Spanish chorizo broth. I’m a mussel lover and have enjoyed them in many different types of sauces — from Italian red sauce, to marinara sauce, to red and/or white wine garlic broth. But the chorizo broth was a new one on me. Even if you don’t like mussels, you could just sit there with a whole loaf of garlic crostini (little toasts), dipping your life away and increasing the size of your waistline.

I will fill you in as I go on the other dishes we were served, because — much to my surprise — Chef Tedy has generously provided recipes for everything he served us in non-chef lingo. I know I’ve said many times how much I love my job, but today’s column wouldn’t be complete without repeating it one more time! I love my job! Every dish was delicious with classy presentation. I look forward to many lunches and dinners at The Boardroom.

The Boardroom Restaurant, open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, is located at 786 Garfield Parkway. The phone number is (302) 616-1662. The hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday, with brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, featuring Brioche French Toast and Crab Benedict; Saturday and Sunday, closing is also at midnight. A children’s menu is available.

Don’t be turned off by the word “catfish” in the Catfish Rachel sandwich at The Boardroom. Some restaurants use other names for catfish to fancy it up, but once you taste Catfish Rachel, you won’t be intimidated.

Since Loretta was scooping up the Ahi Poké Tuna (recipe follows), I made quick work of Catfish Rachel. This pan-seared fish is tossed in Cajun spices, topped with Red Cabbage Slaw and served on toasted ciabatta spread with rémoulade sauce. (Recipes for the slaw and rémoulade follow.)

In many of Chef Tedy’s recipes, you will see grapeseed oil listed in the ingredients. I don’t remember when or how I learned about grapeseed oil, but I now use it all the time, along with coconut and olive oils. It’s made by cold-pressing grape seeds and contains vitamins, minerals, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates (the good kind) and is very high in antioxidants. To find it in your local grocery store, look to the top shelf, where the higher priced oils are located. It’s well worth the price.

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Catfish Rachel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Ingredients:

? 4 (8-ounce) catfish filets

? Grapeseed oil

? Kosher salt

? 1/2 cup blackening spice

? Red Cabbage Coleslaw (recipe follows)

? 4 sandwich-size ciabatta loaves

? Rémoulade Sauce (recipe follows)

Method for Catfish Rachel:

Put an ovenproof sauté pan on medium-high heat; add grapeseed oil. While the oil is heating up, prepare the catfish. Salt the bottom side with kosher salt, flip the fish and sprinkle with the blackening seasoning (top side only!).

When lines begin to form in the oil, it is hot enough; add the fish, blackened side down. Make sure the fish is not searing too quickly. You can tell that it’s too hot when you hear loud sounds coming out of the pan.

After 3 minutes, flip the fish. After 1 minute, place the pan of fish in the preheated oven. After 2-1/2 minutes, remove the fish from the oven and let rest; this brief time in the oven allows the fish to remain moist.

Cut the loaves in half and oil the insides with grapeseed oil; sprinkle with a little kosher salt (insides only). Place the ciabatta in the oven, oil-side down, directly on the grates. Place a sheet pan underneath the rack to catch any dripping oil. This provides the crispiness needed for the texture of the sandwich. Toast the ciabatta for 1-1/2 minutes on each side.

Spread with 1 tablespoon of Rémoulade Sauce on each of the bottom sides of the bread. Place a piece of catfish on each of the bread bottoms. Top each piece of fish with 3 tablespoons Red Cabbage Slaw. Top with the bun and slice sandwich in half. Yield: 4 servings.

Chef Tedy suggests preparing his Rémoulade Sauce at least three hours before serving to give the ingredients a chance to meld.

Rémoulade Sauce

Ingredients:

? 2-1/2 cups Hellman’s Mayonnaise

? 1/2 cup Creole mustard

? 2 tablespoons sweet paprika

? 1-1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning

? 4 teaspoons prepared horseradish

? 2 teaspoons pickle juice (dill or sweet – your preference)

? 1 teaspoon hot sauce (preferably Tabasco)

? 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

Method for Rémoulade Sauce:

In a medium-size bowl, mix together all ingredients. The rémoulade is better if refrigerated for 3 hours prior to using.

Red Cabbage Slaw (on which I could make a meal) should also be made in advance. Chef Tedy suggests preparing it six hours prior to serving.

Red Cabbage Slaw

Ingredients:

? 1/4 cup rice vinegar

? 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

? 2 tablespoons canola oil

? 1/4 head red cabbage, finely shredded

? 1 large carrot, cut into fine julienne

? 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

? Salt and pepper to taste

Method for Red Cabbage Slaw:

Mix all ingredients and allow to meld for 6 hours before serving.

I’m not an ahi tuna fan, but Loretta made short work of our dish. I take all of her “ooohs and aaahs” as proof that other ahi lovers will not be disappointed.

Ahi Poké (pronounced ‘pokey’)

Ingredients:

? 4 (4-ounce) ahi tuna filets (sushi-grade)

? 1 teaspoon sesame oil

? 1 teaspoon micro-planed fresh ginger

? 1/4 cup minced green onion

? 1 cup teriyaki sauce

? Black sea salt (for the plate)

Method for Ahi Poké:

Cut ahi into 1/2-inch cubes. Mix sesame oil, ginger, green onion and teriyaki sauce. Place ahi in the marinade for 2 minutes. Plate the tuna and sprinkle with black sea salt. Yield: 4 servings.

I wrote above that Chef Tedy’s signature dish is the Boardroom Burger. Loretta’s husband, a true burger connoisseur, gives this wood-grilled burger an A+.

Boardroom Burger

Ingredients:

? 2 pounds certified Black Angus beef

? Kosher salt to taste

? 4 of your favorite onion rings or stout beer rings, if you can find them

? 8 slices good-quality bacon, cooked

? 8 slices gruyere cheese

? 4 brioche buns

Method for Boardroom Burger:

Mix the beef and salt into burger-size portions. Cook burgers on a wood-fired grill using cherry, oak and maple woods.

Bake onion rings as directed.

Cook burgers to desired temperature; just before they are to temperature, place two slices of gruyere cheese on top of each burger.

Brush buns with a little oil and place buns on the grill to toast. Finish by putting a burger on a bun and topping with the bacon and an onion ring. Yield: 4 servings.

Chef Tedy’s twist on a traditional side of wasabi is to puree a cucumber and use only the drained juice, along with some mayonnaise and kosher salt. He calls his creation “Cusabi.” I’ve tried to eat straight wasabi, but there’s way too much burn for even this hot spice lover. Tedy’s Cusabi was a perfect blend and a superb choice to plate next to his Asian BLT. And listen up: “You must use Hellman’s Mayonnaise,” he said. “You must!” So, if you choose to use another brand, don’t say he didn’t warn you.

Please plan ahead. The sauce for this recipe must be made three hours ahead of when you plan to serve it.

Asian BLT

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Ingredients:

? 12 shrimp (size 16/20, which means 16 to 20 shrimp per pound), peeled, deveined and tails removed

? 2 cups teriyaki sauce

? 1 cup oyster sauce

? 1 cup hoisin sauce

? 10 drops sesame oil

? 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

? 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped green onions

? 2 loaves French bread

? Grapeseed oil

? Hellman’s Mayonnaise

? Lettuce of your choice

? 12 slices bacon, cooked

? 2 heirloom tomatoes (or beef steak tomatoes), sliced

Cusabi Ingredients:

? 1 cucumber, peeled, diced, and pureed; drain in cheese cloth (you will use only the juice)

? Wasabi powder, to taste

? Hellman’s Mayonnaise, to taste

? Kosher salt, just a minor dash

Method for Asian BLT:

For the Cusabi, prepare the cucumber juice as above in the list of ingredients. To the cucumber juice, add wasabi powder and mix well with the juice to incorporate. Add a bit of Hellman’s Mayonnaise to this mixture until you get the taste to your liking. Chef Tedy then adds just a pinch or two — truly a tiny pinch of kosher salt — to finish it off; set aside.

In a bowl, add teriyaki, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, ginger and green onions. Whisk together and allow to rest for three hours.

Place the shrimp in a medium-size sauté pan and caramelize on one side. Flip the shrimp and add just enough of the sauce to coat each shrimp; place shrimp in preheated oven for 2 minutes.

Cut French loaf into slices and brush with grapeseed oil. Place bread in the oven directly on the grates with a sheet pan underneath to catch any drippings.

Spread mayonnaise on both sides of bread slices. To serve, place one slice of bread on plate; then a layer of lettuce, then shrimp, then tomato, then bacon (this prevents the bread from getting soggy). Top with second slice of bread. Slice in half and enjoy. Serve a dollop of Casabi next to the sandwich. Yield: 4 servings.

As I wrote above, the flavor of the broth in Chef Teddy’s Chorizo Mussels was so yummy that it took great discipline not to ask for a soup spoon to finish it off. After you cook the 2 pounds of chorizo, you remove the meat, but reserve the broth. Just before serving the mussels in the broth, you can add just a touch of the meat to the broth. The rest of the cooked chorizo can be served in a ground pork and chorizo meatball sub.

Chorizo Mussels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Ingredients:

? 80 mussels (20 mussels per person)

? 2 pounds Spanish chorizo, freshly ground

? 2 shallots, chopped

? 2 cloves garlic

? 4 ounces cilantro

? 6 cups chicken stock

? Red wine to taste

? 1 whole French loaf

? Grapeseed oil

? Kosher salt

Method for Chorizo Mussels:

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, cook the chorizo. Remove meat, but reserve drippings in the pan. To the drippings, add shallots, one garlic clove and cilantro until you smell the garlic. Add chicken stock and red wine and bring to a simmer. Add mussels and cover with another sauté pan. Steam until mussels open — about 3 minutes.

Slice the bread and rub with garlic clove; brush with grapeseed oil and a touch of kosher salt and toast in a 350 degree oven. Place 20 mussels and broth (with a little bit of the cooked chorizo) into 4 servings bowls and serve with the toasted bread. Yield: 4 servings.

Plated with one of our dishes was a side of Veggie quinoa — seasonal veggies, shallots and mild mushrooms over red quinoa — a must-order!

At the end of our repast, Chef Tedy asked us to sample Pastry Chef Carrie Kincaid’s signature Key Lime Cheesecake. My husband’s favorite dessert is Key Lime Pie. I know he’s going to be wowed when we visit The Boardroom together and is treated to this fluffy, key-limey delicacy. Kudos, Carrie!

Restaurants come and restaurants go, but my prediction is that The Boardroom restaurant is here to stay. Thank you, Chef Tedy, for making our visit a lunch to remember!

(Editor’s note: If you have recipes to share, or recipes you want, contact Marie Cook, Coastal Point, P.O. Box 1324, Ocean View, DE 19970; or by email at ChefMarieCook@gmail.com. Please include your phone number. Recipes in this column are not tested by the Coastal Point.)