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Articles / Seacuterie: The Food of Dreams

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Seacuterie: The Food of Dreams

Published March 30, 2023

An explainer, plus how to immediately get yourself some

All photos: Holly Haines

In the spirit of “Know Your Fishmonger,” I’d like to introduce you to mine: Tommy Gomes, aka Tommy the Fishmonger, is a 4th generation fisherman in San Diego, and a passionate voice for all things sustainable seafood. You may know him from his show The Fishmonger on The Outdoor Channel and Amazon Prime.

In 2022, Tommy opened Tunaville Market & Grocery with longtime friend Mitch Conniff, owner of Mitch’s Seafood; there you’ll find fish plates and tacos made with the same fresh-caught seafood you’d see in the market, just a five minute walk away. On the wall behind the fresh fish case hangs a list of fishing vessels and what they’ve hauled in for the week—Tunaville specializes in local fish and supporting sustainable fishing practices. And, for me, it is also the seafood version of Disneyland.

If you are lucky enough to catch Tommy at the shop, you’ll find yourself in front of one of his signature “seacuterie” boards—that’s charcuterie but make it all seafood. On my last visit, he cracked open a side of smoked monchong (aka pomfret) ribs, scraped the firm, creamy flesh away from the bone and proudly presented it to me on a fork (video proof below). He grated dry-aged bigeye tuna like Parmesan cheese; I had a spoonful of dry-aged tuna marrow. Fish marrow! I had slices of dry-aged tuna and salmon, topped with Tommy’s special blend of smoked soy and citrus.

I like to close my eyes and pretend I didn’t just eat a piece of 45-day-old fish and think about what it tastes like, what the texture gives now that it’s lost 25% of its moisture. It doesn’t taste like fish.

It doesn’t taste like anything familiar—a completely new and unique mouth experience. Kind of like sausage, but much lighter. Speaking of sausage, Tommy makes that too—he sliced up three types: cilantro, Italian-style and chorizo, made with 80% thresher shark and 20% pork this week, and if you didn’t tell me there was seafood in there, I’d never know.

While I realize not everyone has access to Tommy the Fishmonger’s dry aged fish case and thresher shark sausage, you too can make a seacuterie board at home. Below you’ll find some of the sustainable seafood brands Tommy carries in his shop, and recipes for crackers, miso butter, and garlic aioli to help you dress up a spread of tinned fish with homemade accoutrement. Add fresh herbs like dill and parsley and fresh lemon wedges to bring it all together. 

One of my favorite combinations is a cracker, spread with a little miso butter, topped with a sardine and hot sauce. Don’t knock it til you try it.


Seafood Sources:

Ekone Seafood
Jose Gourmet
Espinaler
Donostia
Conservas de Cambados


Bittman Crackers, a la Holly Haines

If you’ve never made crackers from scratch, it’s such a quick treat with a big pay off. And, because I’m me, I used duck fat instead of butter. — Holly


Miso Butter

Years ago, David Chang of Momofuku showed me how to create a fantastic compound butter with miso. Use it melted on fish, chicken or steak (lots of umami); on asparagus, broccoli or carrots; or drizzled on a baked sweet potato (or a regular baked potato). — Mark


Garlic Mayonnaise (Aioli)

Photo: Aya Brackett