It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Patrick McMurray, champion oyster shucker and owner of Starfish and Ceili Cottage. (He hosted Oyster Week here on the blog earlier this year.). Tonight I watched as he spontaneously created a four-tiered seafood extravaganza, which he aptly named All That and a Bag of Chips. Notice the paper bags filled with potato chips in the background which were served alongside the vertical platter. “If you can see ice in a seafood platter, you haven’t done it right,” Patrick said, as he jammed more mussels into every available crevice. Sadly, this delicious tower piled high with lobsters, crab claws, mussels, brined salmon belly, shrimp, sauces and a myriad of oysters was not for me. But it still gave me great joy to watch Patrick assemble it and gently carry what I dubbed ‘The Stanley Cup of Seafood’ to a lucky table of eight dining at Starfish.
I couldn’t resist inquiring about the salmon belly soaked in brine and Patrick kindly recreated this treat for my brother and I. Served in a martini glass packed with ice, the Mersea oyster meat is served in its top shelf and a thin slice of salmon belly (fresh from a fish that arrived today) sits brining in the oyster’s juices. Leave it for five minutes or so, and the result is a delectably fatty piece of salmon that’s slightly cured and with a subtle, salty flavour profile. It’s a one-of-a-kind ShuckerPaddy creation that only further solidifies my opinion that Starfish is Toronto’s best seafood restaurant.