I don’t make fish stock nearly as often as I make chicken stock, but variety is good, and fish stock is especially rich in iodine. Fish stock can be used to make seafood-based soups, but mostly I just drink it. That’s right, instead of coffee or tea in the morning, I’ll heat up a cup of stock, add a pinch of sea salt, and drink it down! I don’t do this every morning, just when I feel like I need it.
Fish stock is a mineral-rich health cocktail. Like chicken or beef stock, fish stock is a rich source of gelatin, and of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, silicon and sulphur. The unique benefits of fish stock lie in using fish heads in addition to fish carcasses. The fish head contains the thyroid gland, and this imparts iodine, thyroid hormone, and other substances that nourish and strengthen the thyroid gland. For more information on the benefits of stock, including fish stock, here are links to a couple articles written by Sally Fallon:
Broth is Beautiful
Ideally fish stock should be made from non-oily fish such as sole, turbot, rockfish or snapper. According to the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, the problem with oily fish such as salmon, mackeral, herring, sardines etc. is that “highly unsaturated fish oils become rancid during the long cooking process”. I get my fish heads/carcasses from Backyard CSA, which is a great resource for anyone living in the Sonoma County area.
Is fish stock stinky to make? Yes, it is a bit. I always leave the fan above the stove on while it’s simmering. But the smell doesn’t last, and the health benefits are worth it.
Update: I should add that I’ve come across several fish stock recipes that add white wine. I’m not sure what the purpose of this is (probably just for flavor) but I don’t use white wine and it still tastes good, provided you use aromatic vegetables in the stock such as onions, garlic, celery, carrots etc.
Fish heads and carcasses – about 1 pound for a small batch of stock
1 onion, coarsely chopped (I left the skin on)
Additional vegetables such as carrot or celery
1-2 cloves garlic
Several sprigs parsley
Splash of vinegar
Cold filtered water (2-3 quarts)
1. Add the fish and vegetables to the stock pot.
2. Add enough water to cover the fish heads by an inch or so, and add a splash of vinegar.
3. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
4. Reduce heat, cover and gently simmer for about 4 hours.
5. Let the stock cool a little, then remove the fish carcasses/heads using tongs. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve to remove the vegetables and any other solids. Discard all solids.
6. Store the fish stock in the fridge, or freeze if not being used within a couple days.
Linking to: Sunday Night Soup Night, Monday Mania @ Healthy Home Economist, Homestead Barnhop @ The Prairie Homestead, Make Your Own Mondays, Real Food 101 @ Ruth’s Real Food, Fat Tuesday @ Real Food Forager, Traditional Tuesdays @ Whole New Mom, Real Food Wednesdays @ Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Healthy 2day Wednesdays @ day2dayjoys