The "fish bits" seemed to be the hard part. I buy fillets because I don't want to deal with heads and stuff. I don't think the average consumer does, because most of what you find in the market is beautifully filleted and mostly skinned. The first two seafood counters I went to had no idea what Fish Stock was, much less what I meant by "trimmings". Big chains apparently do not butcher their own seafood.
Whole Foods to the rescue. I almost never shop there, but they do have an elaborate seafood section. Plus, they have a big sign over the fish counter that they will skin and fillet fish for you. Bingo. They'll even cook your seafood, which to me defeats the purpose of buying it at a market instead of going to a restaurant. I pre-ordered a pound or so of any white fish bones, heads, fins, and skin that he could accumulate over the weekend.
What I ended up with was the cuttings off of two big rockfish. It was the size and weight of a newborn, and he gave it to me for just a token price that made this project economical. Time to scale up the recipe and freeze the leftovers. Frankly, I wasn't sure it would fit in my stock pot. I went out and bought quart mason jars for the first time ever. I never can a batch that big, but this was going to require several. It is important to mention that, even though I stored the stock in mason jars, they are not "canned". You can't water-bath can stock, and I don't own a pressure canner. This was simply a cheap, reusable storage medium that allowed me to keep track of the yield.
|What are you complaining about? I'm the one who had to touch it.|
1 lb fish heads, fins, bones, and skin (no gills)
1 C chopped onion
1 rib celery, chopped
1 leek or 2 leaves kale, chopped
1 Tb olive oil
1 small bay leaf
1 sprig fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme
5 whole peppercorns
1/4 C white wine (or 2 Tb dry sherry)
1 qt water
1. Open the windows. In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium low. Add fish trimmings and cook until opaque, stirring frequently. Add vegetables and spices and sweat vegetables until onion wilts, about 5 minutes. Add wine, spices and herbs, and water.
3. Remove from heat. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve or doubled cheesecloth. Either use immediately, or refrigerate or freeze for later use. When chilled, it will become slightly gelatinous. This is normal. Keeps in the fridge for 5 days, freezer for 1 month.
Makes about 1 quart
Difficulty rating π