Bowl of seafood chowder with salmon on white background. Flat lay image
Homemade Fish Stock Is Key
For Flavorful Chowder
By Heidi Chaya
Memorable and impactful dishes come from a complex, skillful layering of flavors, and one of the best ways to achieve this is to incorporate a good stock into your meal. Stock is made from water, animal bones, meat, and vegetables — often seasoned — that is then simmered to form the liquid basis for soup, stews, sauces, and braises.
Seafood or fish stock comes together quickly, and Great British Chefs explains that you can use the fish bones from white fish, like cod, bass, and flounder, though you should avoid oily fish, like salmon, tuna, or mackerel as they result in an undesirable greasy stock. You can also save the shells from crabs, prawns, lobsters, and langoustines for stock.
Stock made from shrimp and crawfish shells is a key component of Cajun and Creole cuisine, and clam and mussel shells can also be used, per The Washington Post. No matter what you're using, be sure it's fresh (or thawed from frozen and used immediately), and simmered for a maximum of 30-45 minutes with your aromatics and other ingredients of choice.
If you need guidance, Food Network provides a recipe using shrimp shells, white wine, and thyme. Martha Stewart makes shellfish stock with lobster heads, cognac, and leeks, and while Andrew Zimmern is known for eating strange things, there's nothing fishy about his shellfish stock that calls for brandy, shrimp, and lobster shells.