There isn't a single Seattleite among the chefs selected to compete for this season's Top Chef crown, but that doesn't mean our city isn't


Top Chef: Seattle: Make Last Night's Winning Cod

There isn't a single Seattleite among the chefs selected to compete for this season's Top Chef crown, but that doesn't mean our city isn't home to plenty of up-and-coming culinary talent. To help put the Seattle back in Top Chef: Seattle, Voracious is partnering with The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Seattle to provide a local interpretation of the previous night's winning dish. Each week, two chef instructors will choose the best recipe from a pool of student submissions: This week's recipe was created by culinary arts student Aaron Tekulve, who last week helped create our rendition of gazpacho.

Top Chef: Seattle has already established that John Tesar, who reflexively introduces himself as "the most hated chef in Dallas," is supposed to be this season's villain. But the producers last night complicated the storyline by showing he's also a very talented cook.

Tesar's three-person team last night served the judges' favorite dish, a chili oil-poached cod with dashi and spot prawn shabu shabu. Top honors went to team member Kuniko Yagi, who was responsible for preparing the fish. According to the judges, that's no easy task - and neither are many of the other maneuvers demanded by this week's recipe.

Unlike last week's gazpacho, this cod dish is neither quick nor cheap. Yet you're highly unlikely to hate the results.

Aaron Tekulve
Crispy Cod Cutlet, with Grilled Spot Prawns, Cauliflower Dashi Puree, Chili Oil Aioli, Sauteed Morels and Crispy Chorizo



8 ounce Cod Filet

1/4 C Panko bread crumbs, pulsed

1/4 C All Purpose Flour

2 Eggs

2 Tbsp Water

2 Tbsp Parsley, chopped

1 Tsp Garlic, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Butter or olive oil, for frying

Grilled Spot Prawns:

2 head- and tail-on Santa Barbara spot prawns

4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp Chili Oil

3 garlic cloves, smashed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cauliflower Dashi Puree:

2 C Cauliflower florets, chopped

1 Garlic clove, smashed

3 C Dashi, more as needed to reach proper consistency

1/2 Tsp Salt

2 Tbsp Heavy cream

1 Tsp Butter (Preferably Plugra)

Chili Oil Aioli:

1 Egg Yolk

1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1 Garlic Clove, minced to a paste

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

2 oz Chili Oil

3 oz Canola Oil

Salt to taste

3 Morels, sliced ¼-3/8 inch thick




1 Tbsp Chorizo, cut in ¼ cubes

Celery Leaves



1. Take cod cutlet and soak in water that has 8 percent salinity for an hour. Rinse in cold water and dry on paper towels. This is a very important step in cooking the cod, don't skip it.

2. Pulse panko bread crumbs with minced garlic, parsley and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor until mixture but do not over process. Place in a bowl.

3. Season the flour with salt and pepper and place in one bowl. Mix the eggs and water and place in another bowl. Using a standard breading procedure, lightly dredge fish in seasoned flour. Tap off excess, then coat the fish in the egg wash and then the bread crumbs.

4. Heat the clarified butter or olive oil in a straight-sided frying pan. Pan fry in clarified butter or olive oil until just cooked. Remove and place on paper towels. (Black cod is a fatty fish so don't be afraid to cook it as it has a nice window of perfection.)

5. Let the fish rest for a moment or two and then slice into medallions.

Grilled Spot Prawns:

1. With a paring knife butterfly shrimp and devein leaving peel and head on.

2. In a small saucepan, heat extra virgin olive oil and chili oil, add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, until golden brown, do not let burn. Remove from heat, remove garlic cloves, let cool and reserve.

3. Add prawns to oil mixture and let sit a room temp for 30 minutes tossing every so often.

4. Prep grill by getting it to high heat and seasoning the grate with oil. Grill prawns until bright pink and just opaque in the center, while brushing with the marinade, this should take about two minutes per side approximately. Season with salt and pepper.

Cauliflower Dashi Puree:

1. In a small pot simmer cauliflower, garlic, dashi, and salt covered, until cauliflower is very tender, about 10 minutes, cook longer if needed to get the cauliflower very tender.

2. Strain the cauliflower from the liquid and reserve the liquid. In a blender purée cauliflower with cream, butter and add simmering liquid until smooth. The consistency should be silky and almost as thick as applesauce, while being nice and easily spreadable but not runny.

Chili Oil Aioli:

1. First make a paste out of the garlic with a pinch of salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolk, lemon juice, and mustard in a bowl.

2. Put oils in a squirt bottle to slowly drip into the egg mixture whisking constantly until emulsified. If you don't have a squirt bottle, you can slowly drizzle in the oil a few drops at a time whisking constantly until emulsified. If too thick, whisk in a teaspoon of water.

3. Season to taste with salt. Put into a squeeze bottle.

4. Sauté morels with butter until tender season lightly with salt 3-5 minutes.

5. Render chorizo until crispy but still tender on the inside.

To Serve:

To plate first spoon 2-3 oz of the cauliflower dashi puree in the center of the plate.

Dot plate with aioli around the puree but a couple inches away from the puree in a circle.

Place one piece of the cod down on the left center with half of the puree so a cut side faces up to the sky. Place a small neat pile of the sautéed morels to the right of that piece of cod then, lean another piece of the cod against the first piece to create height and show off the breading and cut of the fish.

Carefully mount the grilled spot prawns on top of the first piece of cod.

Scatter chorizo and celery leaves around the plate.

Follow Voracious on Facebook & Twitter. Follow me at @hannaraskin

comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow