Healthy eating is a way of living and not just a diet. I like the word clean better - to me that is simple, home prepared and cooked food that tastes fantastic and is a healthy option. Stock cubes are such an easy store-cupbaord option but home made seafood stock takes minutes to make and is a huge improvement on commercially prepared stock that contains more than fish and veg.
Our recipe for this week's Saturday Breakfast class is Asian Aromatic Pak Choi, Chilli and Seabass Broth... but you can use any fish or shellfish that takes your fancy - the key to this is the seafood stock: ideally you can make your own. Fresh fish stock is so easy and quick to make and can form the basis to many soups and sauces. Skim the stock during the making and it can be virtually fat free too. Once made it also freezes very well.
Our Seafood Stock is made using a combination of fish and shellfish, but you can omit the shellfish if you want. The key to a full flavoured stock is to fry the vegetables and prawn shells together before adding other ingredients.
This can be made exclusively with cleaned white fish heads and bones, but raw prawn shells and mussels both make excellent additions and boosts the flavour profile hugely too.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 – 2 tbsp chopped onion
1 – 2 tbsp carrot
1 – 2 tbsp celery
1 clove garlic, un-peeled
Fish bones, skins and fins, preferably from
white fish, such as plaice, sole, gurnard, sea bass etc.
a handful of raw prawn shells, handful of mussels
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the vegetables and fry over a low heat until beginning to brown. Add the prawn shells and fry over a high heat for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the fish bones and fry for a further 1 minute. Pour over 1 L of water then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a very gentle poach where the bubbles blip and break over the surface.
Add the herbs and peppercorns and cook over a low heat for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes before straining and discarding the bones and vegetables.
Skim the stock with a large spoon at intervals. This prevents fat and impurities boiling into the liquid which can impair the flavour and quality.
NOTE: If the stock is allowed to boil it may become cloudy. Do not cook the stock for more than 30 minutes or it may taste bitter.
Salt is not used in stock making, it can be added to a soup or stock at a later stage.
To store the stock: either use on day of making or reduce the quantity by rapid boiling and freeze.