Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fish Stock

In watching old Julia Child shows, I was inspired by her episode on bouillabaisse. I've never bought or tried straight fish stock, but she made it look so fun.  So, I started hoarding shrimp tails and fish parts in the freezer.  As you can see, I picked up a salmon head from the grocery store: the fish department was about to butcher it and I talked the manager into letting me have the head (at a discount, but not really enough of a discount).   I also picked up a whole tilapia at a different grocery store.  This week, after doing my best to stockpile, I discovered an Asian market in town that sells just fish heads; I'll know for next time.  

At the Asian market, I also picked up lemon grass stalks and some dried, salted fish that have the words "stock fish" on the package.  They are fishy, salty, and a little sour, so they give a little extra flavor.  

Add in carrots, parsley stems, celery, onions, and bay leaves, and what you end up with is something really intriguing.  In chopping up the fish heads and then in the initial 15 minutes of cooking, all you smell is overwhelming fish tang.  It seems unimaginable that something tasty could could come out.  Somehow, after stewing away, you end up with a stock that is fish flavored, but not fishy.  

2 lbs fish parts (heads, skeletons, bones, etc), cut into large pieces
1/2 cup dried fish
1/2 cup shrimp tails (more if you have them)
handful of parsley stems
1 stalk lemon grass, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 stalks of celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
3 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 garlic clove
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1-2 tsp. cajun seasoning
2 tsp. salt 
Water to cover (10-12 cups)

  • Place all ingredients in a large stockpot.  Add water until everything is covered.  
  • Over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes.  From what I read, if you cook to long, you end up with bitter stock.
  • Remove from heat and let set for 15 minutes or so.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer or a cheese cloth.  If time permits, let cool for an hour or so to get the impurities to the top, then skim that off.  
  • This made about two batches, so I used one and froze the other.  

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1 comment:

  1. Nice blog. You might like my recent post about my current favorite gadget - a jar key. http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/useful-kitchen-gadget-jar-key.html


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