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Fish Fumet

  • yield: Makes 2 quarts




  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced and rinsed well
  • 2 fennel bulbs, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 2 pounds hake or cod heads, tails, and bones, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 3 stems fresh tarragon
  • 3 stems fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 stems fresh chervil
  • 15 fresh chives

Cook's Note

Fish heads, tails, and bones can be found at most fish counters.


  1. Step 1

    Heat a 12-quart stockpot over low heat. Add oil, shallot, leeks, fennel, and celery, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 30 minutes. (Do not let vegetables brown.)

  2. Step 2

    Add fish heads, tails, and bones, and cook until just starting to release their juices, 10 to 15 minutes. Add peppercorns, bay leaf, coriander, and water to cover bones by 1 inch. Raise heat to high, and simmer, then immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, skimming any foam that rises to the surface; discard foam. (A hard boil will break the fish apart and make your fumet cloudy and bitter.)

  3. Step 3

    Turn off heat, and add tarragon, parsley, chervil, and chives. Cover, and let steep for 20 minutes.

  4. Step 4

    Strain fumet through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth set over a large container. Cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 day (or freeze for up to 3 months; thaw before using).

Martha Stewart Living, August 2008

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