Monday 31 October 2011

Stocking up for winter – part 3 Fish

                                 Line caught fish        photo by Gary Smith

Making fish stock - like chicken and beef - is very simple and easy. Although the other stocks take a long time to cook, it’s better not to  simmer the fish stock for too long as the flavour becomes bitter. 

When making fish stock, use the whole fish carcass and head (see nutritional benefits below).

If you have a good fishmonger, who has a good fishing ethic, ask if he/she has some fish bones for you to make your stock. Fishmongers normally throw the carcasses away and they might be happy to give them to you. But make sure the fish carcasses are not from an oily fish - these contain high levels of unsaturated oil and, during the long cooking process, the stock can become rancid and the house will stink. Otherwise, when buying a whole fish, ask the fishmonger to fillet it for you and separate the bones and head in another bag.  

The line caught sea bream carcass after being filleted
The chopped vegetables and black peppercorn to add
to the stock minus white wine
Bring water to boil turn the heat down and skim off
the scum that rises to the top
the simmered stock
Separate the flesh from the bones. Sieve the stock in
a glass bowl. Let it cool and refrigerate or freeze.
For a lovely hot cup of fish stock add the separated flesh.
Sprinkle it with fresh dill and sip it with enjoyment.
Fish Stock
 Fish stock is a very nutrient-dense food and should be included in our diet as often as possible.


Cold filtered water (about 2.5 litres)
3-4 carcasses*,  fish heads and bones
1/4 cup white wine
1 celery stick, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 onion, cut in half
Several sprigs of coriander, parsley and celery leaves
Sea salt or Himalayan salt (optional)

*you can also make it with one fish carcass, if that is what you bought for the day. Simply adjust the rest of the ingredients accordingly.


Place fish bones and head in deep pot and cover with cold water. Stir in the white wine and sea salt (optional) bringing it to a gentle boil.   As the water first begins to boil, skim off any scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat to a simmer for 2-4 hours. Let it cool and then strain into containers. Refrigerate for two days or freeze for several months.

Nutritional benefits

Fish stock: it is full of bio-available minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, that are very important to our health. Fish head contains fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, D, E and K; and iodine which provides a great support to the thyroid glands. Pubmed, the data bank for medical research publications, published a study conducted in 2011 showing that almost 70% of the people tested were found to be iodine deficient. A traditional belief is that fish stock contributes to virility.

Till next week!

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