Fish Stock (Fish Fumet)

Fish Broth (Fish Stock) Fish Fumet

Serves: makes about 4 cups (1 Liter)

Preparation time: 45 min.

Fish Stock aka Fish Fumet is incredibly easy to make and is the basis for a well-rounded fish soup or stew. Fish fumet is widely available from your market fishmonger in France. You can be sure that it is going to be homemade and fresh because it is made from fish parts which are not so sellable like heads and carcasses from non-oily fish like cod, halibut etc.  If you are tempted to do your own fish fumet do not be afraid to ask him. He is certainly your best source.

Fish stocks that are sold in the US supermarkets as fish concentrates  (clam juices) are in no way comparable to homemade. Fish stock is an easy set-it-and-forget-it cooking affair. A bit of green produce, like onions, leeks, carrots, garlic, parsley, thyme and white wine is all you need in your stock pot. Cooking time is not long,  20 minutes to a maximum of 30 minutes. All you want is to extract enough gelatin from you fish carcasses and taste from the produce. Cooking it for too long will cause fish flesh, vegetables and herbs to disintegrate. An overpowering vegetable taste and a cloudy stock will be the result.

Fish stock is freezable and can be diluted to your taste.


  • 2 lb (900 g) bones, heads and tails of raw, non-oily fishes, shrimps heads and shells, cleaned fish skin (scales removed)
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 leek stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium-size onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium-size carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, left whole
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil for sautéeing
  • 1 thyme twig
  • 2-3 parsley stalks
  • 1 cup (240 ml) dry white wine
  • 4 cups (1 L) water


Rinse fish bones to remove scales and bloody parts from heads and tails. Set aside.

In a large cooking pot heat the olive oil and sauté the chopped celery, leek, onion, carrot, and garlic for 5 minutes or until the onions are softened and slightly translucent. Don’t brown the vegetables. Add white wine and reduce it to a half.

Add the fish bones and sauté for another couple of minutes. Add 4 cups (1 liter) of water and bring up the heat until it starts to simmer and fish bones start to look opaque. Add peppercorns, bay leaves and parsley and the remaining 4 cups (1 liter) of water and cover it. Skim any impurities from the top now the and then.  Let it simmer for 20-25 minutes longer.

Remove the fish bones first, strain the liquid and let it cool. Use as a base for soups, sauces, and stews.

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