Friday, August 24, 2012

Real Food Series: Fish Stock Recipe

Fish Stock

"Fish stock is particularly rich in minerals especially iodine and thyroid-strengthening substances" 
Jude Blereau, Wholefood for Children

Fish stock forms the basis of many recipes and adds not only nutrition but stacks of flavour. As a rule whenever we have fish I try to incorporate fish stock into the meal, even if it is only half a cup or so.

You want to use a non-oily fish to make your stock. Fish like salmon and ocean trout are not suitable for stock and also in Australia these fish are farmed - I suggest avoiding them - read here for more information. Farmed fish are fed all sorts of things such as grains, soy and fish oil*. If you do ever wish to consume 'pink fish' such as salmon, wild candian sockeye salmon is an excellent wild source, we purchase ours here.  

Last minute cooking? Need Fish Stock? A wonderful tip I picked up from Jude Blereu's Wholefood for Children was to place the fish bones and head in some muslin/ cheese cloth with the herbs, secure with some cooking twine and add this into the pot with other ingredients and filtered water (perfect for a fish stew or soup)......a one pot wonder :)

From the pantry

2-3kg Fish bones and heads from non-oily fish such as cod, snapper, flat head or bream
herbs – few sprigs of thyme/ lemon thyme and a bay leaf
bunch of parsley
200mls sulphite free white wine (if you prefer not to use wine, add a few tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar - an acid is needed to draw the gelatin and minerals out of the bones)
2-3 Litres filtered water
1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
1 leek
2 brown onions
few stalks of celery
1 bulb of fennel
4 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole

Lets begin

1. Saute leek, brown onion, celery, fennel and garlic cloves in butter until softened
2. add fish heads and bones – I add them whole, however if your stock pot is not big enough, you may need to cut up the fish carcass
3. add white wine to deglaze
4. add filtered water and peppercorns
5. continue to simmer for 1 hour
6. about 20 minutes before taking off heat add in a bunch of parsley
7. Strain using fine meshed sieve and pour liquid into glass storage.
8. Once cooled freeze until needed (best to freeze in the approx. portions you will need to use it - I usually freeze in 1 and 2 litre glass pyrex containers)

Use your homemade fish stock for these recipes.....

Fish pie (recipe coming soon) 

Farmed Salmon – the battery hens of the sea - Atlantic salmon also known as Tasmanian Salmon is one of the most commonly consumed fish and what we eat in Australia is farmed. In fact they are the most commonly farmed fish. This is a cruel game and they are often called “the battery hens of the sea”. Salmon are carnivorous, they feed off microalgae and small fish. Farmed salmon are fed fish meal, wheat by products, soybean meal and feather meal. Because they are not consuming their natural feed they have very low levels of omega 3. Did you know that 50% of the world fish oil production is fed to farmed salmon to raise those levels? Yes fish oil, the same stuff we supplement with. The other concern is the amount of antibiotics given to farmed salmon. Industry figures show that from 2006 to 2008 almost 18 tonnes of the antibiotics Oxytetracycline and Amoxicillin were fed to Tasmanian salmon. 


  1. thanks for the recipe natalie and the extra information about farmed salmon (we ate this for dinner last night, tasted beautiful but will be the last time we buy this product).
    i have used red mullet to make a lovely fish stock before. i would assume this is an oily fish but it worked really well.

    1. my pleasure Jo......I was the same once I learnt about farmed fish I couldn't look at it the same way!
      that's great to know about red mullet - thank you :)

  2. I make chicken stock about once a fortnight because I love putting it into whatever I can too, but I've only made fish stock once, when our neighbour gave me a fresh snapper he caught. I'm not so sure how to use fish stock I guess, so this recipe above could be a good place to start. Thanks! I'm still planning to make those coconut butter balls too. Can I ask, do you buy a particular brand of butter? (like NZ wintertime yellow butter for example? And if so, where do you get it?) Hope you have a beautiful weekend :-)

  3. Yes try the fish soup....really so easy and delicious and great way to get lots of fish broth into you!
    Butter - If i can get it I use Gympie Farm - its raw and comes in big chinese container, we buy from our local organic shop. If you can't get next best I believe is Farm Paris Creek -

    1. thanks! Is the Gympie farm the same one that Cleopatra's bath milk comes from? (I LOVE that milk)... ps I wanted to pass on a Leibster award for you - if you want to play along the details are over at my little space... cheers :-)


Thanks for your sharing your thoughts. I love hearing from you and will respond to any questions in the comments sections. Natalie

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