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Making Fish Stock


Doodad
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Please point me in the right direction. I know how to make stock now thanks to Bourdain and Ruhlman and several mistakes. (Tony, you don't say how long to roast the bones thank you very much.)

So how to adapt to fish? Treat it like a white stock I assume? Or should I roast the head a little? Should I change the mirepoix or does that limit my uses for the stock as a whole?

I found a great fish guy on my commute route and he is saving racks and heads for me now. :smile:

Thanks. I want to make Bouillabaisse (sp) or Ciopinno (sp again) this weekend.

Edited by Doodad (log)
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Ciao Doodad.

No, you don't have to roast fish bones. Thanks god.

Treat a fish stock like you would a basic chicken stock, only you don't have to cook it as long, only an hour, hour and a half. I try to keep my fish stock, and all my stocks, as neutral as possible so that I can 're-direct' them when I use them. Freeze the stock in small batches for later use...but label them...the fish and chicken stock look the same in a frozen state! :laugh::blink:

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My understanding is that fish stock is very different from meat or poultry stocks. Most of the classic recipes I've seen simmer the fish trimmings for only about 30 minutes. Sometimes the onions, celery, etc are sweated in the pan, but not browned, then the washed fish heads, bones etc are put in. I've seen recipes that add a little white wine halfway through as well. There are strong fish stocks and delicate ones, depending on what kind of soup or dish is being made. My first instinct would be to consult Julia if you plan on making any classic kind of fish soup. And then I would see what Jasper White has to say. His recipes for chowders and soups aren't simple but they have a common sense factor that I like.

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Couple of thoughts. I don't let it go longer than a hour. I think you've extracted most of the flavor by then. I also don't use oily fish for this. First time I did it, I used salmon heads and bones and it did not work out. Last, I add a peice of dashi (kombu kelp).

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I am sure this is an elementary question, but please humor me for a moment.

Where do you get the bones to make *any* stock? I once made a shrimp dish so I had small amount of shrimp shells which made a nice stock (albeit only yielding about 1/4 cup!).

I don't want to force myself to have to eat 5 lbs of fish just so salvage the heads and spines. And if I take the gradual approach, I don't know of anyway to store carcasses and bones without having it stink.

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I am sure this is an elementary question, but please humor me for a moment.

Where do you get the bones to make *any* stock? I once made a shrimp dish so I had  small amount of shrimp shells which made a nice stock (albeit only yielding about 1/4 cup!).

I don't want to force myself to have to eat 5 lbs of fish just so salvage the heads and spines. And if I take the gradual approach, I don't know of anyway to store carcasses and bones without having it stink.

Any fish store or even suoermarts with a fish counter will have heads and carcasses, sometimes as give-aways if you are a customer, other times $1-$2/lb.

Be sure to get the heads; there is meat and gelatin in them.

You could freeze these, but only for a week or two. It's better to make the stock and freeze it.

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I am sure this is an elementary question, but please humor me for a moment.

Where do you get the bones to make *any* stock? I once made a shrimp dish so I had  small amount of shrimp shells which made a nice stock (albeit only yielding about 1/4 cup!).

I don't want to force myself to have to eat 5 lbs of fish just so salvage the heads and spines. And if I take the gradual approach, I don't know of anyway to store carcasses and bones without having it stink.

Any fish store or even suoermarts with a fish counter will have heads and carcasses, sometimes as give-aways if you are a customer, other times $1-$2/lb.

Be sure to get the heads; there is meat and gelatin in them.

You could freeze these, but only for a week or two. It's better to make the stock and freeze it.

What he said. I never have a problem with beef bones. I have to ask the fishmonger to save them. But, it is a win win since he usually throws them away. He makes a few more bucks, I get stock and no waste.

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I have usually done the text book way of 45 minutes simmered but have been intrigued by Ripert;s method. I never tried it this way, but listen:

Sweat vegetables.

Add bones/heads and aromatics (pull gills and eyes from heads)

Add cold water.

Bring to a two boil, drop heat to bare simmer.

Add aromatics.

Simmer 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and rest 15 minutes.

Strain through cheesecloth.

I am drawing from memory so don't quote me but I think this sounds good.

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I have usually done the text book way of 45 minutes simmered but have been intrigued by Ripert;s method.  I never tried it this way, but listen:

Add bones/heads and aromatics (pull gills and eyes from heads)

.

What is the rationale for pulling gills and eyes?

My squeam level is fairly high, but I would have scoop the eyes with a knife or spoon, and barely look at them :blink:

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I have usually done the text book way of 45 minutes simmered but have been intrigued by Ripert;s method.  I never tried it this way, but listen:

Sweat vegetables.

Add bones/heads and aromatics (pull gills and eyes from heads)

Add cold water.

Bring to a two boil, drop heat to bare simmer.

Add aromatics.

Simmer 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and rest 15 minutes.

Strain through cheesecloth.

I am drawing from memory so don't quote me but I think this sounds good.

Interesting. Andrew Zimmern has almost the same recipe that I stumbled across searching sites. He puts a parchment paper over the bones to kind of steam them before adding wine and such.

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I have usually done the text book way of 45 minutes simmered but have been intrigued by Ripert;s method.  I never tried it this way, but listen:

Add bones/heads and aromatics (pull gills and eyes from heads)

.

What is the rationale for pulling gills and eyes?

My squeam level is fairly high, but I would have scoop the eyes with a knife or spoon, and barely look at them :blink:

I'm with you! I'm not pulling out eyeballs. I've been making stock forever, with eyeballs. Just strain them out later or reserve for Halloween. :laugh:

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The cooking time for fish stock is obviously a hot topic. I've read that cooking more than 30 minutes can cloud the stock and/or extract harsh flavours. However, CIA's The Professional Chef says 40-60 minutes so that is probably perfectly ok.

Using only bones from non oily fish is also important. No mackerel or salmon! On the other hand, I have made a most excellent stock (and then sauce) from the bones of a char, and I would classify char as at least "semi-oily".

Edit: Ehh, did I really use the char bones for that stock or had I bought some other fish bones...? I rember when I served that particular char and I remember that the sauce was really excellent. But I actually don't remember what I used for the stock.

Edited by TheSwede (log)
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I have usually done the text book way of 45 minutes simmered but have been intrigued by Ripert;s method.  I never tried it this way, but listen:

Add bones/heads and aromatics (pull gills and eyes from heads)

.

What is the rationale for pulling gills and eyes?

My squeam level is fairly high, but I would have scoop the eyes with a knife or spoon, and barely look at them :blink:

I'm with you! I'm not pulling out eyeballs. I've been making stock forever, with eyeballs. Just strain them out later or reserve for Halloween. :laugh:

I did not pull them out. I left the gills as well since they were hard to remove. I did trim the fins and tail. It cooked to the point it was falling apart at about 40 minutes so I stopped. Came out great!

I made a Ciopinno with clams, shrimp, wahoo, mahi, snapper and salmon. The bones were grouper. It was goooooooood. All of the ingredients had come in the day before and were swimming on Wednesday. The wahoo was absolutely outstanding. I will be getting more.

Thanks for all the advice everyone.

Edited by Doodad (log)
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I have usually done the text book way of 45 minutes simmered but have been intrigued by Ripert;s method.  I never tried it this way, but listen:

Add bones/heads and aromatics (pull gills and eyes from heads)

.

What is the rationale for pulling gills and eyes?

My squeam level is fairly high, but I would have scoop the eyes with a knife or spoon, and barely look at them :blink:

I added the gill/eye removal because that is what I do. I haven't checked if that part is the Ripert way.

Look into many references and draw from experience that blood and fat clouds up stock. Fish bones are soaked in cold water for 30+ minutes to leech out the blood. The gills contribute to clouding up the stock. Reference the gill removal in books like Keller's Bouchon. The eye removal? Not sure where I got that except that I thought it helped create a clear and clean tasting stock (aka no fat emulsified into it). Same reason why I don't throw all my trimmings and skin into my stock and why I choose lean fish for my stock.

Hope this helps. Thanks for the question.

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I used to go spear fishing and deep sea fishing with my Bahamian coworkers. The first thing they do to freshly caught fish is to remove the gills. I was told that the gills goes off first. This also bleeds the fish. Love the eyes!

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I'm glad it worked out for you

Here is what I think the best method is:

Sweat the vegetables (onions, leeks, fennel, celery) way down, add white wine and cook until reduced a bit and the alcohol is burned off. Then add the cleaned bones. I would recommend removing the gills and eyes, as they can have a funky flavor and may also add impurities to the stock and make it cloudy. You can go as far as soaking the bones overnight in ince water to remove excess impurities--but a good cleaning in the sink will be OK as well.

Do not let come up to a boil at all, and let it cook for about 30 minutes (no longer than 45).

Strain and cool immediately.

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The eyes are not fatty, just nerve tissue, lens, and muscle.

The gills may be bitter, as they are removed by most fishmongers.

I'll feel better leaving the eyes in...

Interesting. I was wondering about eye composition. You perked my curiosity. I may make an eyeball stock and see how it tastes. Not that I would drink the stuff down (unless it really was good) but mostly as an experiment.

I order fish from wholesale purveyors that are often eviscerated but gills still attached to help the buyer determine quality of the fish.

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Thank you "hathor" for the posting help.

First the fish heads directly from Fortune Fish Company (from Chicago):

gallery_20110_5498_9404.jpg

The pulled eyes:

http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/11976448...0_5498_1393.jpg

The eyes with aromatics in water:

http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/11976448..._5498_15993.jpg

The product after light simmer 15 minutes and resting 15 minutes:

http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/11976448...0_5498_4797.jpg

The final stock strained through 4 layers cheesecloth:

http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/11976448..._5498_25281.jpg

Results in my opinion? Not bad at all. The stock was good. Not strongly gelatinous but full of flavor. A little oily but not too significant it seems. The messiest part was the ink stuff that leaked from the eyes and left pepper looking flakes in the stock that a chinois didn't catch the first strain through (calling for the need for cheesecloth layers which removed them all).

Thank you eGullet for the encouragement to test my training. Leave the eyes in. I will at least.

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