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How To Make Fish Stock From Scratch: Culinary 101

How To Make Fish Stock From Scratch: Culinary 101

Fish stock was actually one of the more common stocks I made as a restaurant chef. Vegetable stock was numero uno and fish stock came in at a very close second. It is so amazingly simple, yet so complex with the depth of flavor it adds to your soups. It was always so very easy to get the required ingredients. I’d just call in my daily fish order to the fish monger and request a few pounds of fish bones and heads..and he’d deliver-free of charge. The veggies and herbs were always in my stocked pantry.

For this recipe you want to use a mild white-fleshed fish (I usually ask for Snapper) rather than a fatty/oily fish such as Salmon. Salmon is beautiful and rich and FISHY. And as beautiful, and delicious as he is, he just doesn’t work for a stock. This stock is delicate and scented only with the few vegetables you use and the fresh herbs thrown in. There is no smell of fish, but rather the ocean, which gives you a beautiful canvas to paint upon.  This recipe I’ve long used from Joel Robuchon’s book “The Complete Robuchon” (My ingredients below are only slightly different, adjusted with time and use:) ). The recipe below makes about 10 cups of stock which I freeze in 2 cup servings (in 5 freezer bags).

While I made this favorite recipe this last time I couldn’t help but hum and sing aloud a little tune from the 90’s called “Fish Heads.” I’ve got to post the vid but I totally understand if you can only make it through the first minute or does get a little…..weird? lol Memories🙂

Fish Stock:

4 lbs Fish heads and bones

4 Tablespoons butter

1 large onion peeled and sliced thin

1 pound button mushrooms, sliced thin

2 shallots, peeled and sliced thin

1 bouquet garni (6-8 parsley stems, 4 stems fresh thyme, 2 bay leaves, 6 peppercorns; tied in a cheesecloth)

2/3 cup dry white wine

12 1/2 cups cold water

Clean any gills remaining on the fish heads as well as rinse the bones and set in a colander to drain. (Start humming fish heads song, see above). Heat butter and cook the onion, shrooms, and shallot over low heat until onion is translucent (about 4- 5 minutes). Add your bones and cook, stirring occasionally for 7 to 9 minutes. Add in all of your liquids, your wine, water and tears (from not being able to get that blasted song out of your head now-your welcome), as well as the bouquet garni and bring to a simmer. Keep the stock at a simmer and do not let boil, skimming frequently, and continuing to cook for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to 70°. Ladle out stock into separate large container and toss the bones (and all the impurities that have now sunk to the bottom). Refrigerate to continue cooling (to 40°) and store as you prefer. For me, this is when I portion it up into my freezer bags to get tucked away in the freezer for future use.

In conclusion, TRY THE STOCK! Watch the video! Make some soup! And leave a comment below:)


6 thoughts on “How To Make Fish Stock From Scratch: Culinary 101”

  • Awesome! Great idea, amazing what you can do with just fish heads. Haha learned something new today.

  • If I didn’t love this blog so much I’d be YELLING at you about getting me to click on that funny song 🙂

    But yeah, I have yet to slay the beast of fish stock but you’ve made it seem totally doable. Fish sauce is one of my all-time favs to add to stuff but not everyone likes the funk, so this would be a nice alternative.

    I had NO idea that you had to be careful about what kind of fish to use when making stock. really good to know!

    • Lol. Fish sauce is “Da funk”…it’s very funky..but in a good funky way? Thanks for your reply and for keeping up wit da blog!! 🙂

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