Recipe: Fish Stock

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Jul 4, 2012
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Posted at the request of @Michi, who apparently thought it sounded useful.

I had been dissatisfied with my fish stock for years. Never seemed to come out right. It was a problem, because I wanted to reproduce Legal Seafood's fish chowder. Finally found one I thought proper, and memorialized it in a document. It's by Jasper White, apparently, and the sweating technique turned out to be the key to what I wanted out of fish stock. And yes, this stock enabled me to make a satisfactory reproduction of Legal's wonderful fish chowder, at long last.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, very thinly sliced
4 stalks celery, very thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, very thinly sliced
2 dried bay leaves
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves and stems
6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 large (6 inches long or more) or 2 small (4 inches long or less) fish heads from cod or haddock, split lengthwise, gills removed, and rinsed clean of any blood
2 1/2 to 3 pounds fish frames (bones) from sole, flounder, bass, and/or halibut, cut into 2-inch pieces and rinsed clean of any blood
1/4 cup dry white wine

About 2 quarts very hot or boiling water

Kosher or sea salt


Melt the butter in a heavy 7- to 8-quart stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, and peppercorns and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables become very soft without browning, about 8 minutes.

Place the fish head on the vegetables and stack the fish frames evenly on top. Pour in the wine, cover the pot tightly, and let the bones sweat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they have turned completely white.

Add enough very hot or boiling water to just barely cover the bones. Give the mixture a gentle stir and allow the brew to come to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered, carefully skimming off any white foam that comes to the surface, trying not to take any herbs, spices, or vegetables with it. (Using a ladle and a circular motion, push the foam from the center to the outside of the pot, where it is easy to remove.)

Remove the pot from the stove, stir the stock again, and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and season lightly with salt. If you are not going to be using the stock within the hour, chill it as quickly as possible. Cover the stock after it is thoroughly chilled (it will have a light jellied consistency) and keep refrigerated for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Someday, I will have to apply this same technique when making stock from shrimp shells; my efforts in that direction have been hideous, despite following Paul Prudhomme's recipe. It makes sense to me that a kind of restrained indirect heat would be the key to making stock from such delicate ingredients.
I put both the fish stock and especially the shrimp through a mouli to extract everything that’s in there. Often I’m using it to make bouride so I dont mind the extra heft, you can always strain it after. I learned this from the owner of a Provençal restaurant
It dwarves a 240 gyuto!

Edit. It’s a 180. I’m a little bit confused today

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