In this special weekly feature, “Today” food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across America. See how much money you can save — and fun you can have — by cooking these dishes at home!
THIS WEEK: Chilled Squash Bisque, from the Bonita Bistro & Bar in Bonita Springs, Florida.
Shavuot, an important Jewish holiday celebrating the spring harvest and the abundance of milk that comes from well-fed animals this time of year, takes place June 13th and 14th.
In Israel, and in Jewish homes across the world, it is customary to enjoy dishes from the “Land of Milk and Honey” on this occasion, with dairy and early fruits and vegetables playing center stage.
In honor of the festivities, Bonita Bistro & Bar in Florida kindly allowed us to “steal” their creamy and decadent recipe for Chilled Squash Bisque With Mascarpone, Served with Apple & Israeli Cheese Crostini.
About the chef:
Danny Mellman’s career in top restaurants was sparked by his mother, whom he credits for a sense of creativity and style for combining culinary flavors.
Self-taught, Mellman honed his skills in England, France and Italy before returning to the United States to become executive chef of The Mad Batter in Cape May, N.J., where his use of game and wild herbs garnered local and national accolades.
In 1988, Mellman headed south to Captiva Island where he opened The Greenhouse Grill. His work there was featured in Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines, as well as in regional publications.
"I am influenced by everything. I don't have one particular style of cooking, rather I try and maintain the style in which I am cooking at that moment," he says.
His latest venture, Bonita Bistro & Bar, opened a year ago and has earned rave reviews from regional food critics and a loyal following of regular patrons. Recently the restaurant was selected by Naples Illustrated magazine (April 2005) as one of nine locations they would dine at if they could "only go to one restaurant for a year."
(PLEASE NOTE: Ingredient prices are estimates and based on national averages. Amounts listed are for one portion. Increase proportionately according to number of portions desired.)
Chilled Squash Bisque with Mascarpone
($6.95 at Bonita Bistro & Bar. Cook-at-home cost is $5.87.)
Bonita Bistro & Bar
9800 Bonita Beach Road
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
Want to nominate your favorite restaurant dish for a "Steal This Recipe" feature? Just e-mail Phil at Phil.Lempert@nbc.com (or use the mail box below) with the name of the restaurant, city and state, and the dish you would like to have re-created. Want to know more about Phil and food? Visit his Web site at www.supermarketguru.com.