The opening of Otium made a splash in Los Angeles in 2015. Though situated on The Broad’s campus, it’s not your average museum restaurant. Designed by architect Osvaldo Maiozzi, the restaurant commands a sculptural presence atop Bunker Hill. Otium’s interior and exterior spaces merge clean lines and great city views with raw materials — wood, sleek sheet metal, and walls of glass.
Inside the restaurant, chef and owner Tim Hollingsworth combines a fine dining sensibility with an appreciation for seasonal, sustainable ingredients and a deep love for rustic wood fire cooking. Inspired by produce Hollingsworth buys at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, the menu includes dishes like “Smoked Ruby Red Grapefruit with Cured Amberjack, Chicharrones and Yuzu Crème Fraîche,” which features three different types of California winter citrus and a tasty fish you might never have heard of. Hollingsworth got his training as chef de cuisine at The French Laundry. Then he opened Barrel & Ashes in Studio City with Bill Chait.
Hollingsworth begins this memorable dish by curing sashimi-ed amberjack for six hours with homemade citrus salt that he makes from lime zest. He then adds contrast and texture to the dish by using a Japanese “Ibushi Gin” donabe-style smoker to infuse the scent of applewood and deepen the flavor of ruby red grapefruit he buys from Bernard Ranch at the farmers market. He tops the cured amberjack and smoked grapefruit with a cool yuzu-flavored créme fraîche, finely chopped scallions and mint, along with chicharrones and red chile slivers for a gentle touch of heat. (Hollingsworth is, after all, from Texas.) You’ll find his recipe below.
Smoked Ruby Red Grapefruit with Cured Amberjack, Chicharrones & Yuzu Crème Fraîche
Tip from the chef: Make the most of your citrus by zesting discarded peels to make citrus salt.
1 amberjack, broken down or filleted
Lime Citrus Salt Ingredients
1 lime, zested
2 tbsps Maldon sea salt
For the citrus salt: Combine the zest from one lime and 2 tablespoons of Maldon sea salt flakes.
Season the amberjack with Lime Citrus Salt and cure it for 6 hours in the refrigerator.
Honey-Lime Dressing Ingredients
Honey, to taste
1 lime, juiced
Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
Mallon sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
For the Honey-Lime Dressing: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together honey with the juice of one lime, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste.
Slice the Amberjack into thin pieces and dress with Honey-Lime Dressing.
1 ruby red grapefruit
1 yuzu, juiced
½ cup crème fraîche
Maldon sea salt
“Ibushi Gin” donabe-style smoker
For the donabe: Prepare the smoker by placing applewood embers at the bottom of the clay pot.
For the grapefruit: Supreme the grapefruit and lay the segments on the grates of the donabe smoker. Close the lid and allow to smoke for 30 minutes. Remove the grapefruit segments and reserve for plating.
For the crème fraîche: In a small bowl, whisk the crème fraîche with yuzu juice and salt. Season to taste.
Lime Citrus Salt
Chicharrones, deep fried
To serve: Plate the smoked grapefruit and cured amberjack. Top with the garnish and the yuzu-flavored crème fraîche.