Unlike meat & poultry stock, fish broth is quick to make from start to finish. Using milder flavored fish such as cod, bass, snapper, sea bream or branzino, make the best broths in my opinion. I find broth made from oily fish way to strong for my tastes. The heads, collars, and bones make a gelatinous broth that can be used to cook legumes, (I cook lentils in fish broth and serve with the filets of the fish I reserve and pan sear) or used as the base of a soup or sauce. Shrimp, crab and lobsters shells are a great flavorful addition to fish broth and are an economical way to get the most out of your fish counter investments. I always look for wild caught fish from abundant species. Bright eyes and red gills are a sign of freshness but I usually ask to give the fish a sniff before it’s wrapped up. Your friendly fish monger may also be willing to save you bones from whole fish they break down into filets, so go ahead and ask and you may even score some for free.
1 whole fish, gutted with head and tail intact (around 2 pounds)
Fresh clean water, around 2 quarts
Aromatics such as bay leaves, peppercorns, and my personal fave, fresh horseradish
2 stalks of celery
2T sea salt
Add ingredients to pot and bring up to a simmer. If using whole fish, after 15 minutes pull out fish and remove cooked meat. Return bones to pot, add additional ingredients and simmer 30-45 minutes more, strain and reserve broth.
Erin’s Favorite Fish Soup
1 whole tai snapper or black cod, cooked according to above directions. Cooked broth & fish reserved.
2 leeks. on the smaller side
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small bulb fennel, chopped
2 Tablespoons grated fresh horseradish root (but feel free to go nuts or scale back depending on your horseradish tolerance) ginger is a good substitute here if horseradish is not your jam.
2T celtic sea salt (I love my salt)
Cut leeks down the middle and rinse away any dirt or grit. If leeks are really dirty, rinse then slice leeks halves again, chop leeks roughly and put into a bowl of water, leeks will float & dirt will sink. Skim leeks off the surface of the water (don’t dump into strainer as all the dirt will just go back on top of your leeks). Peel and grate your horseradish root. Bring your strained fish broth up to a simmer and add the sea salt, carrots, fennel, leeks and horseradish. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Simmer until leeks look translucent and vegetables are soft. Add reserved fish, return to simmer for one minute and serve. Soup can be finished with more grated horseradish and some chopped fennel fronds.
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