Nick Shinton
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Recipe by Nick Shinton, Chef, Truluck’s

I was introduced to the healing powers of food at an early age. My mom was a nurse and she got me a job in the hospital kitchen. There was a guy in my high school senior year who became paralyzed and was in the hospital. One day, he was on my route, and I stopped in his room and hung out with him. Before I left, I asked him if there was anything I could bring him. Soon, I was able to bring him special requests and it was like a little bit of light in his day and mine. I think I was able to distract him a bit from his experience at the time.

About six years ago, I moved to San Diego on a whim. I grew up in Herndon, Virginia, and was a sous chef in several Washington, DC, restaurants, but I had a couple of friends in San Diego and I wanted to move to California. Truluck’s is a great home for me. Growing up in the mid-Atlantic, I have a passion for crab. It’s one of my comfort foods. When I was a kid we would go down to the eastern shore of Maryland and catch blue crab, bring it in, and then boil it up with some Old Bay.

I’m still pretty straightforward in what I cook. I love putting the modern twist on the classics. I focus on technique and ingredients but I don’t gravitate towards things that are overly complicated. I like to keep it simple.

  • INGREDIENTS
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • ½ pound hot Italian sausage, chopped
  • 8 turkey livers
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup roasted turkey or chicken stock
  • 3 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 1 pound French bread, cubed
  • 12 fresh oysters, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. garlic, chopped
  • 1 sprig sage, chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme, leaves only
  • 1 sprig parsley, chopped
  • 4 eggs, hard boiled and chopped

HOW TO DO IT

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a large casserole dish. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and cook sausage and turkey livers until they are browned. Add onions and celery and cook until the onions are translucent. Add in the stock and the butter and heat to a simmer. In the greased casserole dish, combine the bread, oysters, garlic, sage, thyme, parsley, and eggs. Add in the heated stock mixture and gently mix until combined. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and serve with a festive meal.

Editor’s note: In December, I sent Reader food critic Naomi Wise this stuffing recipe to review for the holiday issue. Normally, Naomi sent me edits within 24 hours and I was surprised when days went by and I didn’t hear from her. I re-sent the column to her, and again there was silence. I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn that Naomi had died following a surgery.

Because we both worked from home, I never had the chance to meet her in person. But through the years, in addition to fixing my mistakes, Naomi shared small pieces of her life with me through her emails. She will forever occupy a space on my shoulder as I write. “Come on,” I can hear her saying, “You can do better than that.” — Pamela Hunt-Cloyd

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