Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fish Stock Fiasco

Photo: a block of frozen prawn stock, fish frames, garlic, herbs, onions and more...

There will be no accompanying recipe today… you would not thank me for the results if you tried this at home. The galley still smells faintly fishy - hell, the whole boat is scented with fish. I’ve thrown away my favorite Joyce Chen bamboo-handled spider (strainer) because it reeked of fish even after a soak in vinegar, and then in a bleach solution. We’ve thrown open the portholes, hatches and doors and powered up all of the fans and ventilators to rid us of the fragrance of the failed fish stock project.

Did the cookbook lie? Did I miss some vital direction? Was the notation, “Make your own choices about the [fish] eyeballs.” a hint of trouble ahead? Don’t know, don’t care, not gonna do that one again.

Life’s a Fish and Then You Fry; an Alaska seafood cookbook, is worth a read for Randy Bayliss’s oddball humor, intriguing piscatorial information, and the bizarre-yet-appealing illustrations by Ray Troll. After the failure of the fish stock and subsequent Soup d’ Poisson I’m not ready to try another Bayliss recipe quite yet. Maybe next week, if there’s no lingering odor involved.

Details? The soup was insipid, flat, boring, without taste… and I’m blaming it on the stock. I’ve produced more flavorful results using commercial broth bases. I did enjoy the initial steps of shrimping, fishing, picking fresh herbs, and even chopping the small mountain of vegetables. The stockpot looked pretty interesting initially. The soup? After a taste or two we threw it away and I vowed not to mess with fish stock again. Have I said that before? Well this time I mean it. The Capt will help me remember. 


  1. Just add shrimp/prawn shells to water, simmer and reduce by half, and forget the fancy schmancy other stuff. Can't help you with the smell.

  2. Buy it at the market and don't tell anyone it's not homemade. It works for me,


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