On Saturday I picked up twenty pounds of salmon frames and heads from Loki. They are a local family sustainably fishing the waters of Puget Sound and Alaska. Dylan manages the farmer’s markets and maintains their interesting blog.
At $1 per pound the frames were loaded with meat and perfect for stock. Dylan supplied me with a recipe for Brent’s Special Fish Stock and on Sunday I set to work making it. I used celery, onions, leeks, garlic, fennel, thyme and bay leaves from the garden.
There is something so gratifying about having most of everything you need to turn fish bones into a first class meal growing in your yard! Even more satisfying taking something that most of us would discard and turn it into a nourishing traditional food that will sit in my pantry waiting any last minute salmon chowders, Bourrides or Bouillabaisses. I may even get some shellfish from Taylor Shellfish and make a paella one night. The world is my oyster, so to speak.
The only change I made to this recipe is adding about 1/4 cup per pot of Rockridge Orchards apple ciderwhich has become my secret citrus replacer this year. Need a splash of lemon? Try it. Especially in fruit jams or pies and even gravy. It’s somewhere in between a vinegar and cider and adds amazing depth of flavor and balances acidity brilliantly. I love the local and sustainable substitutes! Although when my yuzu and meyer lemon start producing I’m sure I’ll be gushing about those as well.
Brent’s Special Fish Stock
1 pound of fish bones
4 large celery stalks – large dice
1 large or 2 small yellow onions - large dice
Top green part of 1 leek, washed and roughly chopped
1 bulb fennel – large dice
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups dry white wine (I used Chateau Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc)
1 T white peppercorns
1 T coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
1 T finely – ground sea salt
6 fresh thyme sprigs
- Roast the fish bones in a 400 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes
- Roast ingredients 2-6 for 15-20 minutes or until caramelized
- Put all the ingredients in a heavy bottom pot and fill with water about 3 inches above the bones
- Bring to a full boil and turn down to a simmer. Let the stock cook for about 2-3 hours, skimming any fat and scum that rises to the surface as it cooks.
- Stock will keep in the fridge for about 7 days, or in the freezer for a few months.
I strained my stock when it was cool. The longer you leave the fish frames in the stock the fishier it will become. After leaving my stock in the fridge overnight I carefully removed the fat from the surface then reduced it to half. I canned it in the pressure canner on 11 pounds of pressure for 35 minutes. Each quart will make a full pot of something this winter!
One quick and easy dish you can make with this stock is Saigon Fish Soup. It’s a little like Pho in that once you have the stock prepared the rest of the meal comes together in the same amount of time it takes to microwave something frozen.
I pulled some red dragon carrots (did I tell you how much I love these carrots?), leeks and Thai basil from the garden. Once the carrot and leeks were approaching done I added some Loki Salmon but any fish would do. You could use noodles or cook rice in the soup itself. When the fish finished cooking in a few minute’s time I added a few cubes of the key lime juice I had frozen last winter, the thai basil and served it with the last of Tonnemaker’s jalapenos that I bought a few weeks ago just before the frosts started.
So quick. So simple. So yummy.