Seafood Charcuterie

Photo: Flora Hall Brewing

another kettle of fish entirely

 By Tim O’Connor

In last month’s column, we made a charcuterie platter, with meats and cheeses and recipes for delicious sides. This month, we take the platter in another direction, one that will fit nicely on your holiday table. You can make it a seasonal “Feast of the Seven Fishes” or any number of fresh seafoods and sides for your family to enjoy.

People shy away from making seafood charcuterie because they think it’s too expensive or too difficult – it’s neither. And my recipes will help to make you the star atop any culinary tree.

We start with pickled shrimp, which have a real tang when dipped in a classic cocktail sauce. Next up is trout rillette, which needs just a bit of poaching and a bit of chilling to spread happily on a cracker or bit of bread.

There’s an ocean full of options to add to your tray, such as smoked salmon or smoked octopus – grab some at Whalesbone warehouse on Kent Street, just steps from the Glebe. You can easily chop fresh-cooked lobster or crab and toss with salt, lemon and dill. You can add sardines or escargot or shuck a few oysters. I also love cold, cooked mussels.

You can also make my seafood sausage, which takes a little finesse, a little patience and a night in the fridge to be like a seafood salami. Eat it as is or with a quick sear in a pan.

All of this pairs splendidly with the sides from last month’s column, including the apple chutney, the lemon curd and even the blueberry compote. Pickled onions are also a great choice.

Don’t be shy about seafood charcuterie, at this or any time of year.

Tim O’Connor grew up in the Glebe and is head chef at Flora Hall Brewing.

 Seafood sausage

  • 1 lb mixed seafood raw
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups 35% cream
  • 1 cup chopped, pre-poached mixed seafood (preferably same assortment as raw). Poach in liquid at 75 to 78 C, just below simmering.
  • 1 tbsp dill

In a food processor, puree raw seafood and egg white. Slowly pour in cream and add salt.
Gently fold in pre-poached chopped seafood and dill.
Using plastic wrap, roll mixture into cylinders, tying off each end.
Poach in water until it reaches 55 C, around 20 minutes. Refrigerate overnight.

Trout Rillet

Fill a sauce pan with enough oil to cover trout. (I use a 50/50 canola-olive oil mix.) Bring it to poaching temperature.
Place trout in gently and cook until done, roughly 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove and allow both oil and trout to cool.
Remove skin and shred trout.
In a bowl pour a bit of the oil and mix (my rule is 1 tbsp oil per ounce of meat). The mixture should look creamy and spreadable. If not add more oil and mix again. Mix well.

Pickled Shrimp

  • 1-2 lbs poached shrimp
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into thin slices
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped capers and
  • a bit of the juices
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seed
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp salt

In a bowl mix everything and cover.
Allow to sit overnight.

Chef Tim O’Connor with a bowl of raw seafood to be made into sausage.

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