In the world of culinary, there's fish stock and then there's Fish Fumet. Sometimes, the terms are used interchangeably for describing a recipe but they aren't exactly the same. Like broth, a fumet is a concentrated stock or a high flavored liquid base that's mandatory for strong tasting soups or sauces. While broths are for meat dishes, fumet is for fish dishes. So think in the sense of soups like bisques and sauces like Fish Veloute. Fish Fumet should never be overlooked by chefs especially when they need to making expensive fish soups and fish sauces for customers.

Fish Fumet isn't all that different from a fish stock since it's pretty much that but with more flavor. For seasoned pros at this kind of thing, the rules remain mostly the same: Start by sauteeing aromatics like diced onions or mirepoix (a combination of onions, carrot, and celery at a 2:1:1 ratio), then sweat the fish bones with citrus and dried white wine, cover in cold water and simmer with herbs like parsley and thyme. The real difference is that a fumet calls for the stock to be reduced over a boil after being strained to produce a stronger flavor.

There are many recipes out there for a Fish Fumet, ranging from short to extensive. However, this one should be relatively short and sweet for those who want the least hassle without sacrificing great flavor.

The recipe

Fumet Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 1/2 lbs fish bones
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • Juice 1 lemon
  • 2 quarts cold water

Bouquet Garni Ingredients:

  • 3 parsley stems
  • 1 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • unwaxed kitchen string

The directions

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepot over low heat.
  2. Add the diced shallot and parsley stems to the saucepot and stir around to coat it with the butter. Sweat for 3 minutes or until soft.
  3. Put the fish bones over the sweated shallots, then pour over the white wine and lemon juice. Shallow poach the fish bones for 10 minutes or until they turn white.
  4. While the fish bones sweat, make the bouquet garni if you haven't already. To make the bouquet garni, place the parsley stem and thyme sprig neatly together on top of the bay leaf lengthwise, then tie them tightly together in the center with the unwaxed kitchen string.
  5. Add the cold water and bouquet garni to the saucepot. Bring to a boil, then to a simmer. Let the fumet simmer for 30 minutes, skimming the surface with a ladle or a slice of white bread occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat and strain. Pour the stock back into a clean saucepot and bring to a boil. Reduce by a 1/4 and remove from the heat.
  7. Use immediately for sauces or cool down and freeze in canning jars or BPA-free containers.

Serves: 2 quarts