Homemade Fish Stock

I love seafood stew. Cioppino is my all-time favorite, but Manhattan clam chowder is hard to beat—New England style is great, if you prefer the creamier, dairy-based version, but I’m a bigger fan of the spicier, tomato-based version. Either way, the secret to making extra tasty seafood soups and chowders is in the broth. I know people who use chicken stock, and that’s fine, but not if you’re truly a pescatarian and not if you’re going for an authentic dish. At times, I have used vegetable stock in place of seafood stock, BUT, no matter what I’m making, it’s never as good. Never. So when a local fishmonger had some leftover fish heads to sell, I jumped at the chance to make my own stock and save for future use. Note, you can usually get these from fishmongers and sometimes specialty grocery stores, for around $5.

Homemade Fish Stock
4-5 pounds fish heads, rinsed well
1 cup white wine (nothing sweet)
1 onion, quartered
1-2 leeks, rinsed, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
4-5 garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. black peppercorns
6 cups water
Rosemary, thyme, oregano all optional
Salt to taste

img_24472Place ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour. Pour in to a fine strainer with a container underneath so you can separate the liquid from any solids. Discard the leftover ingredients. And that’s it! If not using immediately, let the stock cool, cover tightly and either refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for up to one month.

On a side note, I have seen chefs saute the fish heads in butter before making their stock. I’ve never tried it, but some swear it makes it even better.

A note about my recipes … most of what I cook isn’t a precise science. It’s look, taste and feel. And I encourage you to cook the same way. Add a little more of this, or a little less of that … and pay attention … and before long you’ll be a wiz at cooking seafood.

Coming up NEXT on the blog … a trip down Highway 101, smoked salmon pizza, and a recap on the wild-caught vs. farmed seafood debate.

Want more from The Midwest Mermaid? Be sure to follow along here, and on Instagram for all the latest in seafood news and chews | @shaunanosler

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DISCLAIMER: I’m a writer and an editor. And I try my best to make sure every post is articulate and free from errors. However, being that I edit my own work—and it’s next to impossible to properly edit your own work—I admit, occasionally there may be an error or two I miss. But doing so doesn’t make me an idiot so don’t be mean. Just smile, pat yourself on the back for finding an error and be glad you’re not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes … yes, even mermaids slip up every now and then. xoxox

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Hey there. I’m Shauna—a West Coast transplant in the landlocked state of Indiana … when I moved here I missed the beaches, the mountains, the desert, the rivers … and it took me a while to find places nearby that paralleled my old stomping grounds. BUT. Now that I’ve lived here for over 15 years, I’ve had time to explore the region and you know what? It’s amazing. There’s so much to do—from skiing in northern Michigan to relaxing lakeside in southern Kentucky to rocking the nightlife in one of the many metropolitan areas. And I love it here. I really do. BUT. I do miss the sea … and the sand and the rush of the waves … the smell of seawater … even the sting of too much sun after a day spent lollygagging at the beach. And I miss the constant supply of seafood and shellfish and riverfish? About that … since I’ve moved to the Midwest I’ve noticed that a lot of people here don’t consider fish that come from the river seafood … I’m not sure I agree, but hence the new word I’ve created, “riverfish” … time will tell if Webster picks it up ; ) So this little blog is my way of bringing a little bit of sea life (or is it sealife?) to the Midwest. Here you’ll find all kinds of information … some that you might find more useful than others—like where to find the best seafood (and riverfish) in the Midwest. And some, you might just find amusing … or not. Either way, and if nothing else, I hope you leave my little space here on the world wide web a little refreshed and maybe even a little inspired to bring a little bit of the ocean home with you. (Yes, I did use the word “little” four times in one sentence … it’s OK … mermaids like to repeat themselves.) Cheers! The Midwest Mermaid Oh, and if your curious, yes, I do actually write for a living … if you want to know about the organizations I work with and the publications where you can find my land legs, swim on over to the “Portfolio” tab … and thanks for visiting.

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