Fish Fumet

This is a recipe for fish fumet or fish stock, which is used in soups, such as bisque, and in many sauces. As a disclaimer, if you are squeamish about the foods you eat, do not read the rest of this recipe or many types of foods will come off your approved list. However, if you are cooking purest and want to make all your ingredients form scratch, this is a necessary recipe.


  • 2 lbs fish carcasses (bones and heads)*
  • 4 TBL olive oil
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bottle clam juice
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 onion – diced
  • 1 leek, white and green parts only – sliced
  • 2 shallots – sliced
  • 1 clove garlic – smashed
  • Bouquet garni – wrapped in cheese cloth
    • 2 sprigs parsley
    • 2 sprigs rosemary (optional)
    • 2 sprigs thyme
    • 2 bay leaves
    • whatever other spice you may like to try


  1. Mise en place – prepare all your ingredients in advance
  2. Heat oil on medium-high and cook fish carcasses (bones, head and all) until the bones seem cooked. It’s your call if you want to cook the skins or not.
  3. Add onion, shallot, leek, and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent.
  4. Add white wine to clean off the fond (burnt stuff stuck to the pan).
  5. Add water, clam juice, and bouquet garni and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 2 hours (reduced to 3 cups).
  7. Toss out garni and strain stock to remove solids.

* You can substitute shrimp or lobster shells, but the final product won’t taste as good.