I don’t know about you fine folks, but I absolutely love cooking shows. Not the competition type, but the more personal teaching style. I remember way back in the day there were very few options, and all of them were on PBS. There was Graham Kerr (he had gone healthy at this point), Cooking with Yan, Jaques Pepin (!!!) and, of course, old reruns of the grand dame herself, Julia Child. I remember watching these legends, and just trying to soak up as much knowledge as I could, and in particular there is one (episode here ) that stays with me. Julia is going to teach us her famous bouillabaisse, but first we need fish stock. Now Julia is a legend and I adore her, but that recipe is a little much for today’s busy lifestyle . Below you can find a simplified fish stock that is way more versatile than one might expect.
- 2-3 pounds fish scraps (head, tail, bones) from non oily fish*
- one medium onion, sliced thin
- one small fennel bulb, sliced thin
- two celery stalks, sliced thin
- 4 peeled and smashed garlic cloves
- Sea salt and whole peppercorns*
- Cold water, enough to cover bones
Add all ingredients to large stock pot and bring to a boil. Immediately turn heat to medium low and allow to simmer for about one hour. You will need to skim off the white scum as it cooks. You don’t want that in your delicate fish stock.
Strain in a fine mesh strainer, and if you have cheese cloth use that, too. If not using immediately, cool strained stock in a shallow pan for one hour before putting in fridge uncovered to finish cooling. This will last in the fridge for three days, or in the freezer for three months.
*Notes: Call your fish monger and tell them what you are making, and what you need. They will have what you need when you come in, and the scraps should be quite cheap. Easy on the salt, the scraps will be naturally salty, and you can add more at the end if needed.
Serving tips: bouillabaisse, cioppino, chowder, risotto, seafood boil.