Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fish Fumet

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Don't let the fancy French fool you, fumet is just fish stock.  Classical French fish fumet is a far cry from my usual fare so what gives?  The fact of the matter is that I was sorta bored a few weeks back and decided to stretch myself as a cook.  How, exactly?  By executing a recipe totally outside of my comfort zone!  I picked a scallop recipe (I'll post it soon) which called for fish stock and, instead of buying the fish stock, made my own.  If you're at all uncomfortable around blood and/or fish carcasses, this is not a recipe for you.  I am using Thomas Keller's recipe from the Bouchon cookbook because TK is THE MAN.  I really like that he gives weight measurements for the recipe.  Volume measurements kinda suck.

In the recipe's preface, Keller points out three details which affect the final product:
  1. Fish bones-Keller specifies that the fish bones should be free from veins.  Also, an overnight soak in cold water is essential.
  2. Be sure to cook out the wine's alcohol.
  3. After the stock has simmered, let it sit for an hour so the solids settle to the bottom.  Use a ladle to scoop the stock instead of pouring it. 
 ~5 lbs of bones from halibut, bass, sole, flounder and/or other flatfish, tails, heads, any skin, and fins removed

 1 tablespoon of canola oil
4 ounces sliced (1/8 inch thick) leeks and/or leek tops
4 ounces sliced (1/8 inch thick) fennel
3 ounces sliced (1/8 inch thick) shallots
2 ounces sliced (1/8 inch thick) button mushrooms
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1/4 ounces thyme sprigs
1/4 ounce Italian parsley, leaves and tender stems only
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc

1.  Cut fish bones into 3 to 4 inch pieces.  Rinse the bones under cold water and place into a pot.  (I made sure to slice open whatever veins I found and rinsed them out with water.)  Cover with ice water and soak the bones overnight.  (I didn't have much ice so I substituted an ice pack in a Ziploc bag.)  Change the water several times to remove any blood (yes, I actually did wake up in the middle of the night to change the water) until the water remains clear.

2. Heat the oil in a large stock pot.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the wine, to the pot.  Cook gently for 2 or 3 minutes.  Add the wine and reduce the heat to medium high.

3.  Drain the fish bones and place them over the vegetables.  Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot, and steam the bones until they are opaque.  Add 2.5 quarts of water (or enough to cover the bones) and slowly bring to a simmer.  Skim any flotsam.  Simmer for 30 minutes.

4.  Turn off the heat.  Allow the stock to sit for an hour.  Ladle the stock through a cheesecloth lined sieve or a chinois.

5.  Freeze or keep in your fridge for a few days.  I got 7.5 cups out of this recipe and I froze mine in 1 cup baggies.

Time- A long time but most of it is inactive.  There's probably only about 30 minutes of active work here.

Food cost-
Bones- One place gave me two pounds of bones for free.  The rest I purchased for $0.99/lb.  $3.00 total
Wine-  I purchased a $9.00 half bottle (375 mL) of wine.  After the math, about 6 bucks of it went into this recipe.  You could should get a cheaper wine.
Incidentals- 5 bucks or so.
Total- $14.00.  Not exactly cost effective but you know what?  The sauce for the scallop dish was tres bien so I'm not complaining.

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