No-Waste Fish Stock
Last Thursday’s “Catch of the Day” from the Machaca was local scup, known as porgie further South or sea bream in high-end restaurants. Plenty of scup right now– you’ll see them again. Jack Wilson, who works with Capt. Willy Hatch, will fillet the fish as you wish, skin off/skin on, while you watch at the dock. To make the most of your fish, ask for the racks – the bony frames, skin and all the fleshy bits, left after the filets are lifted. They make lovely stock to keep in the freezer for chowders, soups and sauces. And fish stock takes just 20 minutes to cook. Add some nice aromatics, using what you have: stems of parsley (or cilantro) that usually get discarded, fennel stalks and fronds when the bulbs are in season, leafy celery tops, full of flavor…..Here’s a recipe to get you started.
No-Waste Fish Stock
2 scup racks (1 ½ lbs. or so including heads)
1 medium onion, peeled, sliced
Bundle of parsley stems
Sprig of thyme
pinch of fennel seeds, or use fennel stalks when fennel’s in season pinch of peppercorns, sea-salt to taste
Use very fresh scup racks (or freeze them until you’re ready to make stock.) Remove red gills from heads, lifting the gill flaps on either side and pulling out the gills inside, using poultry shears or a filet knife to release them. (For help locating gills: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pk55FsVidE.) If you can’t deal with gills, cut off head and use just the bones and tail end – stock will be lighter, but still good. Cut fish into several pieces and rinse in several changes of water to rid of blood. Pack tightly into a pot with all the other ingredients except salt, adding water to just cover. Bring to a simmer, skimming off any scum. Simmer gently for 20 minutes – boiling or overcooking will make stock murky. Add salt to taste. Cool for 5 minutes of so, then strain broth through a fine sieve set over a bowl or another pan. Use refrigerated broth within a day or two, or freeze in labeled containers and use within a couple of months.