Scallops and pork belly recipes from Kitchen Takeover

Chef John-Carlos Kuramoto shares seared scallops and Chef Meg Hall shares pork belly with sweet potato puree recipes.
Photo: Linda Mensinga

HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. January, 2013—Both the scallops and pork belly were stand-outs at the first Kitchen Takeover held at Abigaile’s in Hermosa Beach even with fierce unspoken competition. A great way to sample the food from six different restaurants, the dinner offered a variety of dishes, many on the rich side, but the pacing allowed each to be fully savored without feeling too overwhelmed.

Chef John-Carlos Kuramoto of Michael’s Santa Monica served this dish at the He was one of six chefs who each prepared a course for the dinner and craft beer tasting.

Seared dayboat scallops with fingerling potato puree, Bloomsdale spinach, black trumpet mushrooms, and charred rosemary beurre blanc

(Makes 1 portion)


Seared dayboat scallops

Seared dayboat scallops


Potato puree

2 fingerling potatoes, preferably from the farmers market

1 cup cream

1 cup milk

2 cloves of garlic


Simmer potatoes in cream, milk and garlic until the potatoes are very soft. Make sure to keep the heat at low/ medium low. Reserve hot.


Spinach and black trumpet mushrooms

1 cup spinach, cleaned

1/2 cup black trumpet mushrooms, cleaned thoroughly


Saute spinach and mushrooms in olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Reserve hot.


Charred rosemary beurre blanc

2 tablespoons shallots, chopped

2 teaspoons garlic, chopped

2 sprigs thyme

2 sprigs rosemary, left out for a day so that it dries

1 cup cubed butter, kept ice cold

1 cup cream

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar


In a saucepan, saute shallots and garlic with olive oil. Place the rosemary on a sheet tray and place under a broiler so that the rosemary catches on fire. Add to the saute pan. Add thyme, vinegar, and cream. Reduce by half. Slowly incorporate the butter whisking a cube at a time in. Make sure to not keep the pan over the flame, let the residual heat of the reduced mixture melt the butter. Strain through a fine seive. Serve immediately.


Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Sear in a nonstick pan, with the heat at med-high. Serve in half olive oil and half butter (about 1/2 tablespoon each).


Charred Rosemary Breadcrumbs

1 stick charred rosemary

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs


Reserve some charred rosemary from the beurre blanc. Add rosemary to a blender with the panko breadcrumbs. Pulse until very fine. Season with salt and pepper.




 This recipe for Vanilla bean sweet potatoes and braised pork belly is from Made by Meg Catering. The Los Angeles based catering company founded by Chef Meg Hall in 2007. Plans are in the works for a kitchen and retail space in Redondo Beach, set to open March, 2013.

Vanilla Bean Sweet Potatoes

Pork belly

Pork belly


Serves 6


3 lbs medium sweet potatoes, white flesh preferable

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 vanilla bean, slit lengthwise, seeds scraped

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Wash and wrap each sweet potato in parchment paper and microwave until soft, approximately 7 minutes.
  2. Let cool slightly, then peel and transfer them to a food processor.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, then add the cream and milk.  Scrape the vanilla bean seeds from the pod into the mixture then throw the pod into the cream mixture for steeping. Bring to a simmer. Remove the vanilla bean. With the processor on, carefully pour the vanilla cream into the sweet potatoes and process until smooth. Season the sweet potato puree with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl and serve.


Can be made 2 days ahead.


Braised Pork Belly


Dry rub

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons chile flakes

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 pounds fresh pork belly, skin removed


Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Massage the rub all over the pork belly, then cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.


Pork belly

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, large slices

2 ribs celery, large slices

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

5 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt

1 cup white wine

2 to 3 cups chicken stock

3 to 4 bay leaves


1.   Preheat the oven to 325° F. Remove the belly from the refrigerator. Coat a large, deep pan – large enough to lay the pork belly flat and hold all the stock – with cooking spray. 

2.   In a sauce pan over medium heat, add onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook the vegetables until they start to soften, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the 2 cups of the chicken stock. 

3.   Pour the mixture over the pork belly and add the thyme and bay leaves. Cover with foil and put in the preheated oven. Braise the belly for 6 hours, checking occasionally. If the liquid level goes down add the remaining stock to cover the belly.

4.  When the belly is done it will be very tender and succulent. Remove the lid and pour out enough braising liquid to expose the top of the pork belly and set the oven to broil. Broil the pork belly until it turns golden, about 3 minutes.

5.  Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the belly, from the braising liquid, to a cutting board. Cut the belly into 6 or 8 equal portions depending on your appetite.


Arrange the pork on a serving platter and ladle the braising liquid on top.


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Linda Mensinga

Linda Mensinga was editor of Culinary Trends for 15 years, now a contributing writer. Researching restaurants and hotels, she interviews the best and brightest chefs, not necessarily the most famous, to learn their secrets and recipes. Their talent and dedication never cease to inspire her. 

Mrs. Mensinga is happily food obsessed and fortunate enough to be married to a chef. 

Contact Linda Mensinga


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