How to Make Bone Stocks from Fatty Fish

Making fish stock can be, well fishy. Here’s my guide on how to make a fresh flavored bone broth from fatty fish.

  1. Buy your backs and heads the day they were prepared (ask!) or frozen.
  2. Brine them in very salty water over night in the fridge. If your bones are very fresh, you can heavily salt them, and rinse them after an hour or two instead.
  3. Drain the brine, rinse the bones, and parboil them for a few minutes. Lots of white, foamy stuff will appear. It’s not yummy.
  4. So toss that water and rinse the bones under fresh water until they’re clean again.
  5. Now cook the stock using fresh water in a clean stock pot or slow cooker.
  6. After a couple of hours, I remove the bones, let them cool a bit, and then pull off the bits of meat. It’s perfect for using in fish cakes! It’s even better when I’m making stock from fish heads, because I can mix all that nutrient dense goodness (like the eyes!) into tasty patties that even my food-shy hubby loves!
  7. Return the bones to the stock, and continue to simmer for up to 48 hours before straining.
I use fish stocks for fish soups, curries, and for sipping by the mug-full.  How will you use yours?
I use fish stocks for fish soups, curries, and for sipping by the mug-full.

That’s it! I keep all my bone stocks super simple because it makes it easier for me to follow my food rotation diet. However here are a few additions I can recommend for when making fatty fish bone stocks:

  • Traditional fish stocks often include a mild flavored wine, and if that works for you, a cup or so will also cut some of the fishiness.
  • Alternatively, I’ll use potent aromatics like grilled green onions, fresh ginger, and lemongrass.
  • Tossing in a whole bunch of thyme and/or multiple sprigs of rosemary is another option. Wait to add herbs until 15-20 minutes before the stock is finished for a fuller flavor. The essential oils responsible for herbs’ wonderful aroma will cook off if added too early, and you’ll lose some of their flavor and medicinal potency.
  • To ensure freshness, and so they’re readily available, I freeze my stocks into cubes. Then I keep them in labeled freezer bags in the freezer. It’s so convenient!
I like to write positively charged words on my stock bags to infused them extra goodness.
"Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both, and you 
won't have to hunt for happiness." 
~ William E. Gladstone
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