How to make fish stock (without fish heads)
When it comes to fish heads, I'm a bit squeamish. Making real fish stock involves boiling fish heads and bones with aromatic vegetables. I've never been able to do it. And unless I buy stock from a fish market that makes its own, I stay away from store-bought fish stock; the popular brands that come in a box all taste like dish water to me. Instead, I make my own "mock stock", starting with the chicken stock I make every week. It's quick and easy to whip up a batch of this fish stock when you're preparing shrimp for another dish. The stock can be frozen.
How to make fish stock
Makes 1-1/4 quarts.
8 oz homemade or low-sodium chicken stock
16 oz clam juice
Shells from 1 lb of shrimp
4 black peppercorns
1 small bay leaf
Combine all ingredients in a pot, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Strain out the shrimp shells, peppercorns and bay leaf. Use the stock immediately or store in the refrigerator (3 days) or freezer (up to 6 months).
Note: the recipe doesn't call for any salt. Before using the stock, adjust with salt to suit the recipe. Fish stock made with store-bought chicken stock will be much saltier than that made with homemade stock.