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Fish Stock

  • Yield: 3 quarts


  • 8 cups very fresh raw fish bones, including heads and carcasses, from fish such as cod, pollock, grouper, snapper, or flounder (do not use bones from oily fish, such as pompano, redfish, mackerel, or bluefish)
  • 4 quarts water, cold or at room temperature
  • 2 onions, peeled, halved, and sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, including the stems, not packed
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  • Place the fish bones in water to cover in the large stockpot over high heat and bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat and drain off the water through a colander. Rinse the bones thoroughly under cold water, place them back in the pot with the remaining ingredients and 4 quarts of fresh water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly*, strain, and refrigerate or freeze in 2- or 4-cup containers or ice-cube trays for use in individual dishes. Keeps for 1 month.
  • Note: A good method of cooling stock quickly to avoid bacterial invasion is to place the hot stockpot in a sink filled with ice-cold water. When the temperatures have equalized, refrigerate the stock.