Fish Soup?

As you all know, I bought a lot of fish the other day. I wrote about our shopping excursion (CLICK HERE), and the types of fish we have tried so far (CLICK HERE).  These were whole fish complete with heads and tails. What was I going to do with all those heads and tails? We’re trying to live economically so I’m trying not to waste anything, and I feel it’s more respectful to the fish to use everything that can be used.

When we were at the fish seller, my neighbor commented on some of the large fish heads in the cooler, saying she could make a good soup out of that. Oh? Really? So, after a bit of research I decided to give it a try (what would we do without Google and the internet?!)

I discarded the robalo (aka snook) because I was afraid of what I’d read about the skin giving the fish a soapy flavor. (The picture above is actually a bit misleading because that is the snook, the only head that didn’t go in the soup.) I had read that the gills can make the soup bitter and should be removed, and learned how with a video HERE. That wasn’t too difficult. Now prepared, the heads and other parts (tails, and leftovers from filleting the snook) were put in the pot, covered with water, and boiled until the meat was falling off the bones (maybe 45 minutes?)

After the soup had cooled enough to handle I strained off the broth, took the meat off the bones, and returned it to the broth/soup. Then I added veggies – an onion, a green pepper, a potato, a couple carrots, salt, pepper, and some Cajun seasoning, and put the soup back on to cook until the veggies were soft.

It was SO good! I am very happy with this soup. There is a  lot more meat than you would think on fish heads.  I’m sure with more research and experimentation, I can come up with other varieties and flavors of fish soup but even if I make it just like this all the time, it will be very good.

So, if you can do this with fish, what about shrimp?  I read a lot of positive things about shrimp stock, and it’s supposed to be even better if you have the heads. So, the shrimp heads and shells were put in the pot to boil for maybe 45-60 minutes (I know, I need to pay better attention to details if I’m going to write about them, but think any reasonable time over 30 min is fine). When the whole house smelled like shrimp and I figured we had about all we were going to get from these, I let it cool enough to handle and strained the soup leaving only the broth.

The broth is a nice golden color and very flavorful, even with no seasonings! I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. I have both chicken soup and fish soup in the fridge, so I put this broth in the freezer for another time. This is a very unique and flavorful broth though, so it will be interesting to see the end result.

We’re having a very good time in the kitchen these days. How nice to have the time, and to have food that is almost entirely home cooked from scratch. How nice to have all these great fresh ingredients too!

I’m trying Zemanta on the recommendation of  a fellow blogger eof737, and it is suggesting some other links about fish soup.  I’ll add them to the end in case you also find the the info and recipes interesting.

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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13 Responses to Fish Soup?

  1. you are having such a great time! glad your experiments turned out well! z


  2. Amy says:

    Out-of-the-water fish makes the best fish soup! Sound so good, Kris!


  3. twoscamps says:

    Oh Yum! That soup sounds wonderful (especially today since we woke up to ice on the windshield)! Such a nice thing about Panama….all those fresh ingredients. Happy New Year!


  4. Alex says:

    As a child I loved sucking fish eyeballs now when I think of it… Cows’s feet also made excellent soup. Enjoy Chiriqui! ahh, continue being adaptable; it is good for all.


  5. Reblogged this on Something to Ponder About and commented:
    When I next buy shrimp ( aka prawns where I live) II think I will try this way to make a good fish stock. Great use of all the fish.


  6. I hadn’t thought about using the heads and shells of shrimp ( aka prawns where I live) to make a good stock. And so easy. I also agree with the idea of being respectful to the fish, to use all of it. Many countries outside the West seem to follow this practice. Thanks for inspiring me with this post.


    • kristc99 says:

      Thank you so much! The fish soup was excellent, but the shrimp stock is still in the freezer. Hopefully I’ll have time to do some research this week and decide what I’m going to make out of it. We’re in Panama where some people don’t have a lot, so they don’t waste anything. I agree, it’s a good practice and I’m also learning new things from them.


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