It’s no secret that the culinary world has gone completely crazy for cutely prepared amuse-bouche-style portions. Widely credited for introducing this miniaturized food trend is celebrated caterer Peter Callahan. His debut cookbook—available in bookstores August 30th and perfectly titled Bite By Bite—is a playful compilation of inventive hors d’oeuvres that are as delicious as they are beautiful. Though his clever creations are tiny in size, Peter Callahan prefers a luxury kitchen with ample prep-space. This chic Chicago kitchen instantly caught Peter’s eye, and true to form, he’s left us with the recipe for a petite nibble.
“The airiness and light color palette of this kitchen makes it an uplifting and inviting environment to prepare meals and to next enjoy them. I also love the island; it’s an essential component for my family and me, as we like to prepare and eat all together.”—Peter Callahan
Fish Tacos and Gazpacho
Serves: 2 dozen
For the gazpacho
1 cup seedless green grapes
1/2 seedless (English) cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded, de-ribbed, and chopped
1/4 jalapeno pepper, seeded, de-ribbed, and finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 4 to 5 limes)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the taco shells
6 cups peanut oil
2 10-inch flour tortillas
For the tacos
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
1⁄8 teaspoon coarse salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 4- to 6-ounce fresh cod fillet
1/2 ripe avocado
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 jalapeno pepper, seeded, deribbed, and finely chopped
1 small ripe mango, seeded and diced into 1/4-inch cubes
Place the grapes, cucumber, bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, chives, olive oil, and lime juice in the bowl of a food processor, or in a blender, and puree. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher, and stir in salt and pepper to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.
In a large pot, heat the oil to 325°F over medium heat. While the oil heats, prepare the tortilla shells: Place the tortillas on your work surface, and use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to stamp 12 rounds from each tortilla. Wrap a tortilla round around a 1/2-inch cannoli tube and then slide it inside a 1-inch tube. Repeat with 5 more tortilla rounds. Place the 6 tubes in the oil and cook until the tortillas look golden, about 1 minute. Remove the tubes from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to cool. Once cool, carefully slide the fried shells and the 1/2-inch tubes out of the larger tubes. Remove the crisp shells and set them aside. Repeat with the remaining tortilla rounds.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon and lime zest, salt, and pepper. Place the cod fillet in a baking dish or on a rimmed baking sheet (the baking dish or sheet pan should be long enough so the fillet rests flat) and rub with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°F. Remove the cod from the refrigerator, discard the plastic wrap, and roast it in the oven until the thickest part flakes apart easily when pierced with a fork, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool completely, and then flake the fish with your fingers or a fork.
Scoop the avocado flesh out of the skin, place it in a small bowl, and mash with a fork. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, and some pepper, and set aside. Slice a thin piece off one long side of each lime so it doesn’t wobble. Rest the lime on the cut side. Using a paring knife, cut a 1/4-inch-deep, 1-inchwide V-shaped notch into the top of the lime (this will be the cradle for the taco). Place 1/4-teaspoon mashed avocado in each taco shell. Divide the flaked cod among the tacos, and sprinkle the jalapeno and mango on top. Set the tacos into the prepared lime holders. Divide the gazpacho among twenty-four small glasses, and serve one with each taco.
Instead of shaping the tortillas into taco shapes, fry them flat and serve the fish on top of the taco canapé. You can also use store-bought round tortilla chips instead of frying your own. Slice the top of the lime off so it’s flat (rather than V-shaped as it is in the main recipe) and rest the flat taco on top for serving.