A willy wonka of seafood charcuterie is working his magic in la _ munchies

During a morning visit to the white-tiled outpost, Cimarusti and Gray both slip back and forth from behind the counter to the kitchen as staff members filet gorgeous cuts of fish near aquariums full of lobsters and crabs. Italian sausage soup recipes olive garden When the duo stand next to each other, they joke about who is taller since they’re both about the same height, and they also have practically matching lumberjack beards.

Gray, 31, pulls out his pièce de résistance: a wooden slab artfully topped with a dozen of his latest creations, including some new items he’s been experimenting with. Mild italian sausage recipe Slices of purple-hued octopus terrine are marbled with swirls of squid ink, the edges of the sliced salmon pastrami are gingerly coated in coarse seasonings, and the monkfish liver pâté easily doubles as a foie gras doppelgänger.

The Providence and Trois Mec alum approaches seafood charcuterie pretty much the same way as you would with meat, in terms of curing and smoking techniques. Italian sausage stew recipe Working at Cape Seafood and Provisions inspired Gray to get creative with the fish he sells behind the counter. Italian sausage seasoning blend recipe “It’s a little challenging, because most of the time when you work with charcuterie it’s mostly a meat product, and the fact that I work at a seafood establishment, it gives you time to just play around a little bit,” Gray says. Ground pork italian sausage recipe “And I’ve always been interested in charcuterie, so I just thought, Hey, why not just try [making] seafood charcuterie?”

That’s not to say it isn’t a challenging feat to do this. Italian sausage potato soup recipe One of the main problems Gray runs into is that fish doesn’t have a lot of fat content, which is often needed in these kinds of rillettes and terrines. Italian pork sausage pasta recipe That’s where Gray’s creativity shines. Italian sausage and pasta recipe His scallop mortadella comes out as peach-colored rounds that are dotted with pistachios and black peppercorns that have been poached in white wine. Homemade spicy italian sausage recipe In following the tradition of making mortadella, Gray keeps the classic 70-percent whipped pork meat to 30-percent fat ratio in his own special way. Hot italian sausage pasta recipe He beats scallops until they’re creamy and chops up chunks of raw scallops to emulate the white blocks of fat that you normally see in the Italian sausage. Ground turkey italian sausage recipe And for a touch of color so that the white chunks will stand out, Gray adds red pimentón to the forcemeat. Italian beef sausage recipe Then he cooks the filling in a warm bath for exactly 12 minutes to give it the consistency of a sausage before letting it set for the next 24 hours.

Gray’s fish-head terrine requires one of the most difficult processes out of all his items, mostly because he’s trying to replicate a gelatinous texture without using land-animal products. Hot italian turkey sausage recipes He starts with 45 pounds of golden tilefish bones and heads, and slowly cooks that in a boiling pot of water for hours until the collagen falls off the bones. Italian sausage and potato recipe Gray will meticulously pick off all the meat from the fish heads, cheeks and bones; strain the fish stock; and then keep reducing the heat until he ends up with a super gelatinous, savory jelly. Italian sausage pasta recipes for dinner He flavors the terrine with bonito flakes, kombu and saffron, giving it more complex flavor notes.

It’s hard to imagine that Gray mostly learned how to make charcuterie from reading a book. Italian pasta sausage recipe But as you get to know Gray, you learn that when he has an idea, he’ll dive in head-first. Italian sausage soup recipe At 18, he got his humble start in a military kitchen in Virginia as a cook in the US Navy before going to culinary school at the Art Institute of California in LA. Italian sausage and peppers pasta recipe In those last days leading up to his graduation, Gray was struck by something he saw on TV. Recipe for italian sausage and pasta On No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain was extolling the flavors of a mere carrot from the Royal Mail Restaurant, which has one of most sought-out dining experiences in Australia. Italian sausage and kale soup recipe “[Bourdain] said, ‘This is the best fucking carrot I’ve ever had,’” Gray explains. Spaghetti recipe with italian sausage “And from that I was like, Who’s making carrots that just taste this good? So, I got a one-way ticket to Australia in hopes of working at that restaurant.”

Cimarusti’s staunch beliefs toward advocating sustainable fishing practices fall perfectly in line with Gray’s. Homemade italian sausage recipes from italy They’re all about the nose-to-tail philosophy when it comes to fish—and it shows in everything that they do. Mild italian sausage slow cooker recipes After filleting a golden tilefish, instead of discarding the bones, they’ll keep them for a flavorful fish stock. Pasta italian sausage recipe They’ll sell salmon collars, or smoke fish fins to add depth to a broth. Italian sausage pasta recipe jamie oliver While monkfish liver is normally tossed out, Gray implements it as the star of a pâté in part so that it might bring awareness to it and make people want to eat it. Recipe italian sausage pasta Even his gravlax and Langer’s-inspired pastrami all come from wild-caught, sustainable salmon, which is something you don’t always see.

Charcuterie spread includes kombu-cured bigeye tuna belly, octopus terrine, vermillion rock cod bottarga, smoked salmon rillette, scallop mortadella, kasundi mustard, gravlax with California yuzu and shiso, fish head terrine, nukazuke pickles, cold-smoked salmon pastrami, monkfish liver pâté, and mussels escabeche.

While the concept of charcuterie is usually connected to countries like Italy and France, Gray’s dishes don’t stay in any one particular region. Italian sausage pasta bake recipe While you’ll get Italian influences like in his scallop mortadella or a cured vermillion rock cod bottarga, you’ll find Japanese ingredients in his other items, like his gravlax that’s made with yuzu and shiso. Homemade italian chicken sausage recipe He’s also working on a Bengali mustard, dubbed kasundi, which is an intense, tomato-heavy mixture that is a perfect amalgamation of sweet, spicy and tart. Italian turkey sausage recipes It pairs well with milder charcuterie items like his octopus terrine, which you might also find stuffed into a Greek sandwich he serves at Cape Seafood.