Fancy Fish Stock

Fish Stock.jpg

In our latest Techniques II class we made this fish stock as the base of a modern (ie no flour) fish velouté in which we poached shrimp and cucumbers. It's great to have in the freezer for all sorts of seafood soups, stews, chowders and sauces and only takes 20 minutes to cook. Ask your fish monger for fish bones and heads. If your out of luck on the fish-monger-with-bones front, buy a couple of pounds of cheap but fresh fish (I used cat fish pieces at $3.95/lb). Part of the trick is using a French technique called "a l'etouffe" or "etouffer," to smother. Cut a round of parchment or wax paper to fit (or be slightly large for) your pot and when you are softening your vegetables or gently simmering the stock, lay it directly on top of the ingredients. It will keep all the moisture with the vegetables so they soften more easily and minimize liquid reduction while cooking the stock. -SW

Fish and Shrimp Stock
Makes about 6 cups

1 small fennel bulb, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1 leek, sliced
1 ½ ounces butter (3 tablespoons)
2 pounds fish bones, heads and shells from shrimp, if using
1/2 cup white wine
6 cups water
3 slices lemon
3 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs cilantro or tarragon
1 star anise
6 peppercorns

Cook the fennel, onion, and leek in the butter over medium-low heat (cover with a round of parchment and lift to stir occasionally) until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the fish bones and shrimp shells and cook 1 minute. Add the wine and boil 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes covered with the parchment round. Strain and cool. Can be frozen.


Ian KnauerComment