Fish stocks are a haphazard venture. Any lean white saltwater fish heads and bones are best: halibut, flounder, cod, etc. Oily, fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel are not recommended. If you have shrimp or any shellfish shells, add them to sweeten the broth. Besides the ingredients listed below, you can chop and cook any odds and ends of vegetables or herbs you care to use, including fennel, leeks, spinach, kale, basil. If your cioppino recipe includes leeks or a fennel bulb, toss the coarsely chopped tops and bottoms of both into the stock. With the latest batch, I tossed in broccoli, cauliflower, small tomatoes and carrots – all left over from a veggie tray.
Fish Stock/Fumet Recipe
- 1/2 gallon water
- 1-2 lbs fish heads/bones gills removed, rinsed of blood, coarsely chopped
- 1 med yellow onion including paper, thinly sliced
- 2-3 shallots including paper, coarsely chopped
- 4-6 garlic cloves including paper, crushed and coarsely chopped
- 1 C dry white wine
- 1 stalk celery including leafy tops, coarsely chopped
- 1 unpeeled carrot scrubbed, coarsely chopped, including green tops
- 2 parsley stems coarsely chopped; leaves reserved
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 t oregano
- 1/2 t thyme
- 1/2 t chives
- 1/2 t tarragon
- 1/2 t fennel seeds
- 1/2 t pepper corns
- Use 1/2 teaspoon of each or to taste, ideally bound up in a cheesecloth sachet or large tea ball
- Heat salted water in large pot. Place fish heads, bones in water, bring to boil. Reduce heat and move any foam that collects on the surface.
- Add all remaining ingredients including dried herbs. Simmer for 20 minutes or more.
- Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, then strain broth through a colander.
- Add broth to whatever seafood dish being prepared. If you make more stock than needed, it can be kept frozen for at least a couple of months.