Michael Cimarusti 2014 Picnic Recipes


appetizer main entree dessert the bowl


This week, some artistic giants are showcased at the Hollywood Bowl. First, the great John Williams conducts his memorable scores, products of collaborations with the likes of Spielberg and Lucas. On Sunday, the films of Alfred Hitchcock and their Bernard Herrmann-penned scores take center stage. This kind of artistic achievement deserves a world-class chef, and we proudly present L.A.’s renowned maestro of seafood, Michael Cimarusti.


“Music in the kitchen helps to create a mood and a mindset that leaves me open to creativity—be it The Grateful Dead or reggae. Over the years, I’ve seen lots of great shows at the Bowl including Bob Dylan, REM, Wilco, and Neil Young. Listening to live music under the stars as it was meant to be heard is always special.”

—Michael Cimarusti

For more information visit:



[+click here] for our weekend entertainment guide



Serves 4


  • 4 medium squid, cleaned and scored, tentacles cut into quarters
  • 1 pound assorted heirloom tomatoes of different shapes, colors and sizes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 branch thyme
  • 1 pinch chili flake
  • 4 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 limes
  • 1 small bunch mint
  • Sriracha to taste
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 head yellow frisée
  • 2 bunches arugula
  • 2 ounces cocktail peanuts


  1. Begin preparation of the dish by heating a large skillet. Pour 1 ounce extra-virgin olive oil into the pan and heat it to the smoking point.
  2. While the pan is heating, season the squid with salt and pepper, and the chili flakes, and place the branch of thyme with the garlic on the squid.
  3. When the oil begins to smoke, add the seasoned squid and stir with a wooden spoon.
  4. When the squid is coated with the oil and is beginning to turn color, add the wine. The wine will create a lot of steam and this will finish the
    cooking of the squid.
  5. Remove the squid to a perforated pan and place it in the fridge. Collect and save any of the juices to add to the dressing.
  6. While the squid is cooling, prepare a simple vinaigrette using the juice of both the limes and the zest of one lime, salt, pepper, sugar, Sriracha,
    and the remaining olive oil. Add a few torn mint leaves to the dressing to add flavor.
  7. Next, core the tomatoes and cut them into smaller pieces, being sure to highlight their unique colors and shapes. Lay the tomatoes out on a
    parchment-covered cookie sheet in order to facilitate their seasoning. Season the tomatoes with salt (preferably Maldon sea salt), and fresh-milled
    white pepper. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the chopped shallots. Chiffonade the mint and place it on the tomatoes as well.
  8. Remove the squid from the fridge and add whatever juice you have collected to the vinaigrette. Drizzle the tomatoes with the vinaigrette.


  1. Divide the tomatoes among four chilled plates.
  2. Dress the squid in a bowl with a bit of the vinaigrette and some of the mint. Place the squid on top of the tomatoes.
  3. Dress the arugula and the frisée with a bit of the vinaigrette and divide the greens among the four plates.
  4. Shave a few of the peanuts over the salad using a microplane and sprinkle the rest over the salads.



Serves 4


  • 4 4-ounce halibut filets
  • 1 pound morel mushrooms
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 12 asparagus tips, peeled and blanched
  • 1 bunch chopped chives
  • Lemon
  • 5 ounces butter
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Espellette pepper


  1. Clean the morels thoroughly in several changes of cold water. Quarter the morels.
  2. Place them in a non-reactive saucepan with one ounce butter, the shallots and a squeeze of lemon. Cover the morels and allow them to simmer slowly
    while you cook the fish.
  3. Dry the fish with paper towels and season both sides with salt and Espellette pepper.
  4. Warm a large skillet and add olive oil to coat the pan. When the oil begins to smoke, add the halibut.
  5. Cook the halibut on high heat until the fish begins to brown lightly.
  6. Place the skillet in a 350°F oven for 2 minutes.
  7. While the halibut is in the oven add the remaining 2 ounces of butter to the morels to thicken their juices.
  8. In a separate pan, melt 2 ounces of butter until it begins to brown. Sauté the asparagus tips until they are well browned, then season with
    salt and pepper.
  9. Taste the mushrooms and their juices and adjust as needed with salt and lemon. Remove the fish from the pan and place it on paper towels to rest.


  1. Add the chopped chives to the mushrooms and divide them among four warmed bowls, then place the fish on top.
  2. Spoon some of the morel juice over the fish, place the asparagus spears around the fish and serve.



Serves 4


  • 3 pounds strawberries, hulled, 2 pounds coarsely chopped, 1 pound quartered
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 whole star anise pods, broken into pieces
  • Strips of zest from 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup chopped mint leaves, plus 8 small sprigs
  • 2 cups crème fraîche
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 8 sheets phyllo dough
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • Salt to taste


Making the Strawberry Soup:

  1. In a large saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a simmer.
  2. Place the chopped strawberries in a medium stainless steel bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup of the sugar and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  3. Set the bowl over the simmering water and cook over low heat until the strawberries have exuded their juices, about 1 hour.
  4. Prepare a large ice water bath. Carefully remove the bowl from the saucepan. Discard the plastic wrap. Stir the star anise, orange zest
    and 1/4 cup of the chopped mint into the berries. Set the bowl into the ice bath and stir the soup occasionally for about 15 minutes,
    or until chilled.
  5. Strain the soup through a fine sieve set over a bowl and refrigerate.

Making the Mint Cream:

  1. In a mortar, pound the remaining 1/2 cup of chopped mint with 3 tablespoons of the sugar until a wet paste forms, then scrape into a
    bowl and stir in the crème fraîche.
  2. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Strain the mint cream through a fine sieve set over a stainless steel bowl.
  4. Using a handheld mixer, beat the mint cream to firm peaks.

Making the Phyllo Crisps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, using your fingers, rub the vanilla bean seeds into 1/4 cup of the sugar.
  4. Work with 1 sheet of phyllo at a time and keep the other sheets covered with plastic wrap. Lay the phyllo on a work surface, brush lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with some of the vanilla sugar.
  5. Top with another sheet of phyllo. Repeat, layering the phyllo, butter and sugar 6 times, using up all of the vanilla sugar.
  6. For the final layer, brush the phyllo with butter and sprinkle lightly with salt.
  7. Using a 3-1/2-inch round biscuit cutter, stamp out 8 rounds from the phyllo and arrange on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  8. Top with a second sheet of parchment paper and another large baking sheet, pressing lightly.
  9. Bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp.
  10. Carefully remove the top baking sheet and parchment paper and let the crisps cool.


  1. In a large bowl, toss the quartered strawberries with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar; let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls.
  3. Top with the mint cream.
  4. Scatter the quartered strawberries over the mint cream.
  5. Garnish with the mint sprigs and serve with the crisps.


I created this recipe with a California Sunday afternoon in mind, or better yet, an evening at the Hollywood Bowl.
I prefer using Harry’s Berries’ Gaviota strawberries when available, which are low in acidity and very
sweet. This dessert can easily be made ahead, since the soup and cream can be refrigerated overnight, and the crisps
can be stored in an airtight container.




Nine Inch Nails • Soundgarden (Lease Event)

Monday, August 25 at 8:00pm

[for tickets]

The Emperor and The Exhibition

Tuesday, August 26 at 8:00pm

Thursday, August 28 at 8:00pm

Beethoven’s ultimate piano concerto, the regal and uplifting Fifth, resounds under the night sky as irrepressible French
conductor Denève joins awesomely talented Canadian pianist Hamelin. Mussorgsky’s vivid Pictures at an Exhibition caps the evening.

[for TUESDAY tickets]

[for THURSDAY tickets]

Frampton’s Guitar Circus

Wednesday, August 27 at 8:00pm

An amazing night of guitar-hero pyrotechnics and gutsy blues awaits you as Grammy®-winning guitarist Frampton and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
inductee, the Real Deal, Buddy Guy set the night on fire with indelibly searing performances.

[for tickets]

John Williams: Maestro of the Movies

Friday, August 29 at 8:00pm

Saturday, August 30 at 8:00pm

With his instantly recognizable scores, John Williams has redefined the art of film music. This year, the Maestro welcomes special guest vocalist Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, Ted), salutes dance in the movies, and conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in selections from some of his beloved movie hits, including Jurassic Park, Superman and, of course, Star Wars!

[for FRIDAY tickets]

[for SATURDAY tickets]

The Big Picture: Hitchcock!

Sunday, August 31 at 7:30pm

Suspense! Sinister plots! Mistaken identities! This year’s Big Picture is a thrilling tribute to the classic films of Alfred Hitchcock. Mesmerizing, haunting
and psychologically gripping scores by Bernard Herrmann (Vertigo, North by Northwest), Dimitri Tiomkin (Strangers on a Train, Dial M for
) and more will be played live while spellbinding scenes are projected on the Bowl’s big screen.

[for tickets]


To download a pdf of this recipe, [click here].


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