Friday, October 15, 2010

Fish Stock

So everyone saved their fish bones, right? Anyone? Bueller?

Ok, well when you do get some fish bones, make sure to save them since making fish stock is quite easy and takes less than an hour. I kept my fish bones wrapped in wax paper and aluminum foil tucked away in the freezer for a few days until I was ready to make the stock. Fish stock can be used just as versatility as other stocks and broths, and is very healthy, too. The stock contains vitamins and minerals from the vegetables, as well as gelatin from the fish bones lured out by the acidic wine. The gelatin in stocks is great for digestion and helps the body absorb more protein. Sally Fallon wrote an interesting article a few years back on the benefits of fish stock if you would like to learn more.

Fish stock can be kept in the freezer for months if not using it right away. When you are ready to cook with the stock, it's great to make with rice in Asian dishes or as a base for soups. I try to substitute stock whenever I can in a recipe to pack it full of nutrients and create a richer flavor in my recipes instead of using water as the base.

This basic fish stock should use only the bones of a white fish, since fattier fish are more complex with their intense flavor. Also, only use a light white wine that you commonly drink so you know the flavor is mild as well. I used the organic Santa Rita 120 Sauvignon Blanc which is $5 at my local co-op. If wine is not on the menu at your house, vinegar can be substituted.

Fish Stock
3 tbs butter
2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3/4 lb celery, roughly chopped
1/4 lb green onions, roughly chopped
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp black pepper
2 tsp white pepper
2 tsp fresh or ground ginger
1 tsp celery seeds
Bones of a white fish
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 cup white wine
6 cups filtered water
1/4 cup Italian parsley

large sieve (optional)

In a 12 quart stock pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the ingredients of garlic through celery seeds in their order and sauté for 7 min until the vegetables become slightly translucent. 

Next add the fish bones and cook for 3 min. 

Then add the onion through parsley, stir, and allow to boil for 35 - 45 min. The water should have bubbles, but not vigorously so allow it to remain on medium-high heat.

Before straining, it's easier to remove the large bones and vegetable pieces with a slotted spoon. 

Take a large bowl and cover it with cheesecloth (or place the cheesecloth in an extra large sieve and hold over the bowl). Slowly pour the stock through the cheesecloth so it catches all the little bones and vegetable scraps. Store the fish stock in tupperware for a few days in the refrigerator is using soon or store in the freezer for up to six months.

~Yields 5 cups.

~Original by Brie.


  1. Great tutorial on fish stock...I do love to save bit and pieces for the purpose of making stocks. They are far simpler than many people imagine :)

  2. Love that there are no crustaceans in your broth because I'm allergic. I will make this broth for sure!
    Thank you

  3. It is good to have bloggers that devote posts to the "basics" of cooking. The most sophisticated dish can be a failure if something like fish stock is badly made...We should all do that!
    Good for you!

  4. @Magic of Spice thank you. yes, many items in a grocery store are simple and cheap to make. it's a shame people have been taught to think it's beyond their abilities.

    @Letizia hooray! pretty much anything in the kitchen is customizable. it's one of the things i love most about cooking - good luck! :)

    @fromBAtoParis thank you. :) yes, it's important to learn the basics since they're usually quite simple and available with ingredients people have on hand. it's so rewarding to make a dish from scratch that doesn't take a lot of time - hoping many others will be inspired to do the same.

  5. This is such a great post and "basics" lesson. I need to try your recipe, it sounds like it's a great one to keep handy.