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Basic Fish Stock

April 1, 2012

I’ve never seen prepared fish stock available in the soup aisle at the supermarket. That’s actually a good thing. Making your own fish stock is really quite simple, and would you really want to be using fish stock out of a carton?

The key to making a good fish stock is getting started days, weeks or even months ahead of time. Anytime we have shrimp, I buy raw shrimp with the shell on. The shells NEVER go in the garbage. Rather, raw shells go in a freezer bag to be used in a future stock. They impart a LOT of flavour. Lobster and even crab shells also go in the freezer, although I don’t use them for a basic fish stock, but more if I’m doing something special like a bisque.

The other fish ingredient I use is a salted herring. It’s not a subtle ingredient to use. Makes this rather the sledgehammer of fish stocks, which suits me fine. Salted herring are readily available in PEI supermarkets and really cheap. You could use any of a number of substitutes. Lots of recipes call for fish bones, fish heads (yum). In a pinch you could buy a jar of clam juice. You could also reserve the liquid you use to prepare mussels.

You can improvise in terms of vegetables, spices and herbs to make use of what you have on hand, and introduce flavour variations to your stock.

This stock freezes well. You can freeze in an ice-cube tray to make it easier to portion it out later on.

Basic Fish Stock

12 cups / 3 litres cold water
a pinch of salt
1 onion, skin removed, quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
1 carrot, chopped roughly
1 stalk celery, chopped roughly
a good handful or two of shrimp shells
1 salted herring
a dried bay leaf or two
about a dozen peppercorns

1. Fill a large pot or dutch oven about 2/3 full of cold water (about 3 litres). Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about an hour.

2. Use a colander to strain the liquid, making sure to press down on the shells and vegetables to extract all the liquid. If you’re trying to impress someone, you might want to use a cheesecloth as you do this to remove any small bits. Not necessary if you’re already married. (JOKING I always aim to impress the wife.)

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From → Ingredients, Recipes

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