This recipe is from Evan Mallett’s Black Trumpet: A Chef’s Journey Through Eight New England Seasons (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2016) and is reprinted with permission from the publisher.
Simmer 90 minutes
When we fillet whole fish, we put the heads and bones in a pot and cover them with white wine and water. Celery, onion, fennel, and sometimes saffron go into the pot as well, along with some aromatic herbs and peppercorns.
Evan has been a co-collaborator and dear friend for more than a dozen years. A board member of the Chef’s Collaborative, Evan has played an integral role in getting chefs, restaurants and consumers to start thinking more attentively about sourcing ingredients locally. He was my initial sounding board for the KNOW FISH Dinners, which bring chefs, fishermen and consumers together to talk about conscious, local seafood choices and the relationship we have to the seafood we eat.
Fish stock is one of the most simple seafood recipes you’ll come across, and yet, it is one of the most frequently asked questions at the KNOW FISH Dinners. Many people know the concept of making a stock, but they want the chef’s take as to what else to put in other than heads and bones. There is some flexibility with some of the vegetable ingredients you put in. For example, the aromatics can be thyme, scallions, even a little sage. The main thing to bear in mind is to avoid overpowering the essence of the fish.
A good fish stock is the starting point for many recipes. When I make cioppino, paella or gumbo, I have a stock ready to add at the right time. It freezes well and can be thawed pretty quickly.
Fish stock photo credit: New England Fishmongers.