Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 333 - Fish Fumet

Here's another one of those things I've been stalling on... When I drag my feet around making something, it usually has to do with the difficulty of getting one of the ingredients. In this case, that ingredient was: fish heads and bones. Yuck.

Fish Fumet (p. 55)

Fish Fumet is my last broth!! Yay!! It's an ingredient in a clam dish I have coming up, but I'm only going to need a couple of cups for that, so I'm not sure what I'll be doing with the rest of this. I mean, how often do you have the need for a fishy fish broth?

Back to the fish heads.

I thought I was going to have to buy a bunch of big fish and fillet them to get enough heads and bones. It never occurred to me to just ask at Fairway if they sell those parts separately. Turns out they do, and cheaply, to boot: $1/pound.

I asked for two pounds, and the fishmonger proceeded to butcher a bunch of heads for me. He was doing quite a bit of cleaning, chopping them down the middle and taking out a bunch of stuff that looked like liver. It was probably fish brain or something equally distasteful, and I was really glad he was doing it because otherwise, I would have had a very brainy soup.

I ended up with three relatively big fish heads, which went in a cauldron with eye of newt and three cat whiskers. Not really. The ingredients were normal, but the smell was a little "double, double, toil and trouble."

The rest of the ingredients were chopped leeks and celery, then some white wine that got reduced, and finally, a bunch of water, a bay leaf, and peppercorns. The potion is cooked for a comparatively short amount of time, 35 minutes, before being strained and cooled.

I'd been skimming the stock throughout the cooking process, but after putting the cooled stock in the fridge overnight, I was shocked to see a thick grey layer covering the top of the stock in each of the containers, resembling the kind of stuff I'd been skimming during the cooking process. I don't now what it was (fat? impurities? brain juice?) but I was happy to be able to spoon it all away.

What was left underneath was a clear fish stock, which I was surprised to see had that same kind of jellied consistency that the chicken and beef stocks have. Magic!

I'm excited to make the clams now, but I'm going to have to find some other recipe where I can use the rest of this stock. Cioppino, maybe?

Jeff: A
Martha: A

Until we eat again....

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