Bonita Springs didn’t know how much of a treat was in store when Petar Al Kurdi set up his eponymous bistro in an unassuming strip mall several years back. His knack for elevating simple meals into category bests rests in his sourcing the freshest products and making everything from scratch. This dish, introduced in the past year, has been championed by regulars. Its secret? All-American ingredients, including Al Kurdi’s favorite catch. Rather than trying to make or buy bottled demi-glace, Al Kurdi suggests, patrons can purchase from him the one he creates for the restaurant. —Dorothea Hunter Sönne
3300 Bonita Beach Road SW, Suite 120, Bonita Springs, 494-1343, petarsrestaurant.com
2 pounds pork belly, seasoned with a touch of salt, garlic powder and onion powder
2 large organic sweet potatoes
1½ to 2 cups heavy cream, heated
1 pound local green beans
12 organic baby carrots
½ pound white button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
Oil (such as canola), for sautéing
8 jumbo diver scallops
8 ounces demi-glace, heated
Fresh herbs (such as dill or parsley), for garnish
- Make pork belly: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a tray, place seasoned pork belly fat side-down and roast, covered with aluminum foil, for two hours. After two hours, flip and roast another 30 minutes at the same temperature. When ready, cut into four pieces.
- Make sweet potato puree: Roast sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for about one hour, then peel. Add sweet potato and 1½ cups hot heavy cream to a food processor and puree until smooth; if potatoes are starchy, add up to ½ cup more heated cream.
- Make vegetables: Blanch green beans in boiling water for 3 minutes. Roast carrots for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Sauté mushrooms in a very hot nonstick pan with a touch of oil until golden brown.
- Make scallops: Sear scallops on both sides in a hot nonstick pan with a touch of oil until golden brown, a 1½ to 2 minutes on each side.
- Serve: Divide ingredients among four plates, starting with the puree and vegetables on the bottom. Then place the pork belly in the middle of the puree and the scallops around it. Pour hot demi-glace on top of each plate, about 2 ounces or one small ladle worth. Garnish with fresh herbs.