Fish Stock Cooking Guide with Recipe

Makes: 5 liters. Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
50g butter
2kg fish bones, previously washed under cold water
200g sliced onions
1 juice of lemon
1 bay leaf
1 small sprig thryme
parsley stalks
5 peppercorns
5 liter water

Note:
The fish bones should preferably be on or more of the following: halibut, sole, turbot, whiting.

Method:
1. Melt the butter in a deep sided saucepan.
2. Add the remainder of the ingredients with the exception of the water.
3. Cover with grease-proof paper and a lid and sweat for a few minutes without coloration in order to extract the juices from the bones.
4. Cover the ingredients with cold water, bring to the boil and skim away all impurities that rise to the surface.
5. Simmer for the prescribed time.
6. Strain off the stock into a clean pan, reboil and use as required.

Assessment of the completed stock:
1. The stock should be clear in appearance.
2. The strength of the stock may be identified by touch – a gelatinous liquid should immediately be apparent.
3. The stock should have a delicate flavor of fish.
4. The color should be white; it should not be of a milky appearance nor have too much sediment in it.

Possible problem 1: Stock lacks flavor
Cause and solution:
– incorrect type of fish bones used; use only bones of the fish suggested.
– bones not sweated sufficiently in the initial stages to extract the flavor.
– too high a ratio of water to fish bones; after straining reduce the stock by boiling.
– stock under-cooked; continue to cook for the prescribed time.

Possible problem 2: Stock has a strong or bitter flavor and is dark in color
Cause and solution:
– incorrect type of fish bones used.
– stock overcooked.
– ingredients have been over-sweated and allowed to color.
– bones have been left in the stock for too long once the stock is cooked.

Possible problem 3: Stock is cloudy and dirty
Cause and solution:
– incorrect type of bones used.
– stock not skimmed enough during cooking.
– stock under-cooked; continue to cook for the prescribed time.
– bones have been left in the stock too long once the stock is cooked; care must be taken to follow the correct procedure during cooking as this cannot later be rectified.

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