For the second year in a row, The Hungry Cat on Chapala Street is hosting a seafood fest, in which Chef de Cuisine Peter Cham prepares a prix-fixe three-course menu. Unlike last year’s blue crabs, though, Cham is focusing on regional fare for 2015, including these rock cod sliders, which put a gourmet-casual twist on a common Santa Barbara Channel species. Also on tap for Sunday is cucumber gazpacho with sea urchin and a seafood boil figuring rock crab, ridgeback shrimp, and Hope Ranch mussels, with a choice of two creative side dishes and one dessert, all for $65.
“You can find a fish sandwich, but probably not as fresh as this one,” said Cham, who shares his recipe below. “And who doesn’t like fried fish in beer batter and served on a bun with avocado?”
Peter Cham’s Beer-Batter-Fried Rock Cod Sliders
3 ounce local rock cod fillet pieces
Beer batter (see recipe)
Romaine lettuce, cut into chiffonade
Ripe avocado, cut into thin slices
Tarragon aioli (see recipe)
Brioche slider bun
yields 3 cups, enough for 10 sliders
1 cup flour; 1 cup rice flour; ½ tsp baking powder; 1 egg; 6 ounces light beer; salt and pepper to taste
Combine all dry ingredients; slowly whisk in the egg and beer into mixture. Season to taste.
yields 3 cups, enough for at least 20 sliders
2 egg yolks; ½ tsp Dijon mustard; 1 tsp lemon juice; 3 stalks tarragon, chopped; 1 cup neutral oil
Put yolks, mustard, lemon juice, and chopped tarragon in a food processor. While machine is spinning, slowly drizzle in oil to mixture to emulsify. Aioli should be thick and velvety.
Dry fish filet with paper towel and coat in beer batter. Deep-fry fish in neutral oil (peanut or canola) at 350ºF for 4-5 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Remove and drain.
Spread a layer of tarragon aioli on the bottom of the slider bun, add shredded lettuce, and place fried rock cod on top. Add thinly sliced avocado, and cover with the top bun. Hold with toothpicks or skewers, and serve on a platter.
The Hungry Cat’s second annual seafood fest is Sunday, August 30, 1-7 p.m. Tickets are $65. Call (805) 884-4701 for reservations.