Brendan Collins 2015 Picnic Recipes


This week, the band who gave us the smash hit “Love Shack” — the B-52s — will dance through the finale of the Bowl’s summer season with The Psychedelic Furs under a shower of fireworks. English chef Brendan Collins, known for his seasonal cooking, is also rocking to the beat at his new flagship restaurant, Birch, which opened in March, 2015 in the burgeoning Cahuenga Corridor neighborhood of Hollywood.  

“I get inspired by lots of different types of music my preference would definitely be more towards upbeat happy music as it helps keep the momentum going in the kitchen during prep time when things can get a bit repetitive and laborious! I believe the Hollywood Bowl typifies Los Angeles at its finest. Exceptional entertainment in the open air under the stars with a picnic and a glass of wine; what could be better than that?”  — Brendan Collins




Serves 4-6


  • 1 octopus of about 2 pounds
  • 2 pounds potatoes (about 6 medium)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • Vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tablespoon pepper corns
  • Salt


  1. Remove the head, slit it in half and turn it inside out to empty its contents and the little attached things including the eyes. Remove the beak in the center where all of the tentacles meet. Rinse the octopus under running water.
  2. Place potatoes whole, un-peeled, in the pressure cooker. Add enough water to just cover the potatoes half-way with a pinch of salt. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker and turn the heat to high. When the pan reaches pressure, lower the flame to minimum heat and begin counting 15 minutes cooking time under pressure. When the time is up, release all of the vapor, remove the potatoes with tongs (reserve the cooking water), and peel them while they are as hot as you can handle.
  3. Cook the octopus. Add more water in the pressure cooker (enough to almost cover the octopus), 1 whole garlic clove, the Bay leaf, the whole pepper and bring to a boil before adding the octopus.
  4. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker and turn the heat to high. When the pan reaches pressure, lower the flame to minimum heat and begin counting 15 minutes cooking time under pressure.
  5. When the time is up, release all of the vapor, and check the octopus for tenderness by seeing if a fork will sink easily in the thickest part of the flesh. If not, close the top and bring it to pressure for another minute or two and check again.
  6. When the octopus is ready, remove and drain. Remove any remaining skin from the octopus by lightly dragging a knife blade on the back-end and sides of the tentacles – only remove the skin from the suction-cup side if you want to remove the suction cups. Chop the head and tentacles into small bite-sized chunks.
  7. While the octopus is cooking, you can prepare the vinaigrette by putting the following in a small jar or plastic container: ½ cup of good olive oil, 4-5 Tbsp. of white wine vinegar, two crushed garlic cloves, salt and ground pepper to taste. Close the lid and shake to blend.
  8. Chop the potatoes into pieces, chop the parsley put everything in a bowl including the octopus and dress to taste with the vinaigrette.


Now I know what you’re thinking octopus:  tough and rubbery and tasteless. However, if you know the secrets to tenderizing it you will be able to make this tasty salad with all the right flavors. When you buy fresh octopus, you need to either freeze and thaw it or beat it to tenderize it before cooking. If your fish-monger has fresh octopus, ask him if he will tenderize the octopus for you. Otherwise, when you get home spend about half an hour banging on the stiff invertebrate or flinging it against your garage door counteract the rigor mortis or… you can just put it in the freezer. I let the octopus defrost for a day in the refrigerator before using it for this recipe.


Serves 4


  • 8 ¾ inch thick slices of brioche
  • 10 ounces sliced stilton
  • 8 ounces onion compote (see separate recipe below)
  • 2 ounces soft unsalted butter


  1. Butter both sides of bread very lightly both the bread and cheese have a lot of fat in them already.
  2. Layer onion on both sides of bread and the cheese through the middle.
  3. Heat up a pan on low to medium heat.
  4. Cook both sides until golden brown and the cheese is soft and warm.




  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ bottle of stout or porter beer
  • 2 tablespoons of beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Coarse salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper


  1. Caramelize onions in heavy bottom pan until you smell the sugars releasing and the onion are soft and see through.
  2. Pour the liquids in and cook until ¾ reduced. Keep stirring the mixture otherwise it will burn and lose its flavor.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and let cool completely.
  4. Covered jam will last in the fridge for two weeks.


Everyone loves a good sandwich! He was a clever bloke that English lad who it’s named after John Montagu the 4th Earl of Sandwich. The Wall Street Journal proclaimed it Britain’s biggest contribution to gastronomy, which as an Englishman I have to say I’m very proud of.
The trick to a great sandwich is simplicity: 3-4 flavors that complement each other, and obviously great bread, whether homemade, which is always preferable, or from a trusted bakery.
Serves 2


Serves 4-6


  • 12 tablespoons  unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt


  • 4 lemons, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt



1. Mix the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until they are just combined.
2. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together
3. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk wrap in plastic wrap and fridge it  for 20 minutes .
4. Roll the dough into a 10-inch-round false-bottom tart pan; making sure that the finished edge is flat. Chill it again  (resting the dough like this will stop it from shrinking when you bake it.
5.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
6. Take 4 sheets of cling film large enough to make a pillow with rice that will cover the entire bottom and sides of the uncooked tart case.
7. Bake for 20-35 minutes or until it begins to lightly brown. Remove the cling film/rice pillow, and bake again for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until golden browned. Allow to cool to room temperature.


8. In a bowl, zest of the lemons with a micro plane, being careful to avoid the white pith.
9. Squeeze the lemons to make ½ cup of juice
10. In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle cream the butter with the sugar and lemon zest this will take about 6 minutes and you will need a spatula to scrape the bowl down for even mixing
11. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.
12. Pour the mixture into a 2-quart saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. The lemon curd will thicken at about 175 degrees, or just below a simmer. Remove from the heat.
13. Fill the tart shell with warm lemon curd and allow to set at room temperature.

Hollywood Bowl Programming
Sep 7 – Sep 13

Rachmaninoff and Dvořák
Stunning Georgian pianist and Sony Classical recording artist Khatia Buniatishvili plays Rachmaninoff’s passionate Rhapsody. Dvořák’s celebrated “New World” Symphony concludes the program, which marks 26-year-old Israeli conductor Lahav Shani’s U.S. debut.

Tuesday, September 8 at 8 PM

Gershwin and Berlioz
Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet brings his vaunted style and flair to Gershwin’s jazzy Concerto in F. The Hollywood Bowl’s memorable classical season comes to an end with Berlioz’ love-steeped dream symphony.

Thursday, September 10 at 8 PM

Fireworks Finale with the B-52s | The Psychedelic Furs
Dance the night away with the world’s greatest party band, The B-52s, and the romantic pop swagger of The Psychedelic Furs. It’s an end-of-the-season bash not to be missed, packed with your favorite hits: “Rock Lobster,” “Love Shack,” “Pretty in Pink,” “The Ghost in You” and more – plus the Bowl’s spectacular fireworks!

Friday, September 11 at 8 PM
Saturday, September 12 at 8 PM
Sunday, September 13 at 7:30 PM