Whenever I buy a whole fish, I ask the fish monger to have it cleaned but I also ask to keep the fish head and the bones. If I’m lucky, Blue Moon Fish from Mattituck, Long Island at the Union Square farmers’ market gives them away for free. My dad especially likes using them for Filipino paksiw, which is a fish soup made less fishy by adding a lot of ginger. For a non-Filipino recipe, I use my own fish stock to make an accompanying sauce for the fish itself.
Fish fumet is the French version of a concentrated fish stock. Because it’s such a classic, I turned to my Larousse Gastronomique to find a solid recipe.
fish heads and bones, rinsed well
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 leek, thoroughly washed, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1. Put all the ingredients in a pot with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the fire. Skim impurities carefully and let the stock simmer, without boiling, for about two hours.
2. When the stock has reduced to about 75%, strain to a container. Let cool before storing in the fridge.
Find a copy of Larousse Gastronomique at thefind.com