For a boy born and raised in Ohio, Aaron Black, chef de cuisine at PB Catch in Palm Beach, sure knows a lot about seafood.
His Chilean sea bass, served with caramelized, soy-infused Brussels sprouts and enoki mushrooms, is ever so popular. His surprisingly varied selection of $1 oysters during Happy Hour is always cause for celebration.
And now there’s this: eight unique “Sea-cuterie” plates.
These are inspired by the smoked, cured and preserved meats of traditional charcuterie. Black serves his house-cured and smoked seafood mix-and-match style atop a covet-worthy board alongside carefully dreamed up condiments. He’s been working on these flavorful seafood creations for more than a year, perfecting his technique, his seasonings and condiments.
Like everything Black undertakes, there’s a level of precision to each component of the boards, which debuted about three months ago.
“I’ve always had a charcuterie program with my family’s restaurants,” says Black, who comes from a restaurant family in Ohio. “As soon as we opened this I wanted to implement the program here.”
The most popular of his Sea-cuterie dishes is the Salmon Pastrami, which is created by coating the fish with a dry rub and letting it sit for a day and a half. The salmon is then stripped and brushed with molasses, coated with peppercorns, and left to cure for three days. It is then frozen for four hours. This is not a quick process.
The salmon is eventually served with a rye crouton and Thousand Island aioli.
But Black’s favorite is the Octopus Torchon, which he creates by giving the octopus a hard blanch, rubbing the outside to get the skin off, simmering it lightly, cooling it, cutting it, rolling it into cylinders and then cutting it into coins. It’s served with pickled sweet corn, and it practically melts on the tongue.
Also delicious – and likely familiar to those fans of PB Catch’s Chilean Sea Bass – is the cured sea bass – a red miso-cured fillet served with shiitake pesto and sake aioli. The average cure for the Sea-cuterie selections takes about one week.
“It’s all about the fish and the way you change the texture. It kind of melts in your mouth, “ says Black, who moved to Jupiter when he was a sophomore in high school and attended the former Florida Culinary Institute.
The reception to the Sea-cuterie plates — which are $16 for a choice of three, or $29 for six — has been overwhelming, he says.
“It’s been tremendous,” says Black. “I’m shocked we’re still selling tons of these and we’re not even busy now. It sold like crazy right off the bat.”
IF YOU GO
- 251 Sunrise, Palm Beach; 561-655-5558; PBCatch.com
- Open Monday through Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4:30 to 11 p.m.
Choice of three Sea-cuterie items sells for $16, and six for $29.
Happy Hour runs from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. daily.