Tuesday, 26 February 2013

DIY Shellfish stock

Because of the huge quantities of shellfish I go through each week (is it any wonder the that the local neighbourhood stray cats sit on stand-by at our terrace- waiting for their all you can eat- extravaganza...) , it would be shame to waste any of their goodness, so I cook stock out of their shells. I like to keep it old school and don't add a whole lot of spices to it, because I use it for so many different things: dishes echoing Asian, Spanish... and my own kitchen, so the flavours can be adjusted for each of them.

These are not cooked though the colour would suggest different...

Peel the prawns. Tip: As you snap the head off, the vein usually easily follows in one piece without any butterflying needed later on. This can be checked by looking at the prawn against light.

Heat some oil in a pan. Add the shells (sometimes, especially if I have some leftover onion lurking around, I might add some onions. Sometimes not. It's no biggie, since my cooking usually starts with onions anyway. Some people like to add some carrots and other stock-making-veggies, but my approach is a bit more purist. Or a lot lazier...)

Bash them ruthlessly. As they get a bit of colour and start releasing their oceany aroma, add enough water to barely cover them. I'd rather have a little bit of good quality, highly concentrated flavour that can be diluted if needed, than a ton of watery liquid.

Let simmer on modest heat (no bubbling!) for approoximately 30 minutes. Should any foam start colelcting on the surface, just peel it off. Keep bashing those prawns to make sure they'll give as much flavour as possible. Add salt to taste.

Run it through a sieve (lined with muslin, should you have some) and voilá- you're done. The stock keeps in the fridge for a couple of days but you can easily freeze it too for later use- using small bottles or ice cube trays.

And hey- this (too) is nothing to fret about. The store bought shellfish stock works wonders too...

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