Back in February, I bought and cooked some whole fish, which left me with some uneaten fish heads. I put those in the freezer, planning to make some fish stock some day. Some day was today.
Just as I do with chicken stock, I started by boiling a huge pot of water. Next, along with the frozen fish heads, I also added some leftover vegetable discardings that I had collected and frozen over the past few months (rainbow chard stalks, broccoli stems, etc.). I also put in some fresh vegetables: whole garlic cloves, halved onions and carrots. Then, I added a little salt and pepper, and some whole cloves, dried thyme and dried basil. I also added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
I brought the stock back to a boil, and then let it simmer for another 3-4 hours. Apparently, “fish stocks do not need hours and hours to come together the way beef or chicken stocks do.” I didn’t put a lid on the pot this time, but I think I will next time, to let the flavors steam into the stock. And, just like with chicken stock, I periodically skimmed the top for the bubbly scum that rises. When the stock had reduced enough, I strained it into an 8-cup container, and will likely use it in the next day or so.
-It’s best to use fish skeletons and heads from lean fish, such as red snapper, cod, halibut, flounder, haddock, hake, sole, pollock, striped bass or grouper, and to avoid fish bones from salmon, trout, mackerel or other oily, fatty fish.
-Next time, I might consider using a sachet d’epices, a small cheesecloth sack containing herbs and spices like dried thyme, parsley stems, bay leaves, whole peppercorns and whole cloves, to keep them in one place and so they don’t get skimmed off along with the scum.
-Fish stock is nice to use in chowders, gumbo and things like that, so that’s probably what I’ll use it for.
-Tuesday, June 28, 2011