So I FINALLY got to go fishing for my birthday – a lovely and generous trip with a guide booked for me by my husband Scott. We launched the boat shivering with excitement in the early darkness yesterday morning onto New Melones Resevoir in Calaveras County with Monte from Gold Country Sport Fishing , a terrifically knowledgeable local guide who has been fishing these waters all his life. More photos of our trip online here
Chilling wind and bone shaking wake aside – I had an amazing time fishing for vigorous local rainbow trout and the young, pink fleshed, delicately boned Kokonee salmon that are currently overstocked in the lake (they don’t grow fat because there are too many of them.) We caught our limit of 5 fish each by 11am and had them filleted and in ice by noon, which gave me the afternoon to research which recipes to cook for dinner.
Fortunately I had the foresight to save the heads and skeletons to use for fish stock – and immediately set to boiling some water and wine as soon as we walked in the door.
Perusing through my cookbook collection, I settled on a classic french fish stock recipe to use as the inspiration, but lacking leeks and celery, I made my own recipe with some adaptions. The resulting broth is silky and delightfully pungent after simmering for 5 hours on the stove. I can’t wait to use it in a powerful homemade paella and experimental upcoming pasta recipes.
Ali’s Homemade Fish Stock
This recipe makes 1 gallon
- 8 fish fillets cleaned – with heads attached (Trout and Salmon in this instance)
- 2 large shallots diced
- 1 medium white onion cut in half
- 2 large tomatoes diced
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 bottle dry white wine
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1.5 gallons water
- a dash of saffron
- salt to taste
- bouquet garni (or in this instance, just thyme and pepper)
In large stock pot, heat water on stove. Add 1/2 bottle of wine and halved onion to the water.
In saute pan, heat oil and add shallots and garlic. Stir until carrots are tender, then add tomatoes and saute for 5 more minutes until saucy. Deglaze pan with a dash of white wine and scrape any sticky bits from pan – stirring into the sauce.
Add fish to stock pot along with bouquet garni or other herbs. Pour sauce contents from saute pan into stock. Bring stock to a boil.
Allow broth to boil for 3o minutes and scoop film or froth from top of broth and discard.
Reduce to a simmer and simmer on medium to low heat for 5 hours, stirring occasionally.
Turn off heat and allow stock to cool. Then strain through a fine mesh strainer until clean. You can do this a couple times. Discard of any solids you strain out (you may want to put this refuse in a sealed bag inside your garbage as it will get incredibly ripe and unpleasant smelling). If you have chickens or a compost pile – this mix of fish bones make an excellent addition.
I store my stock in 1/2 filled quart ziploc bags which I label and freeze to use for sauces and soups. I freeze smaller portions so I don’t have to thaw as much when I need it for recipes.