Motti’s Fish Stock

Homemade Fish Stock

Want an effortless way to boost the flavor and nutrition of your food? Make homemade stock! Though many of us do fine making chicken or beef stock, homemade fish stock is less common.

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of making your own fish stock – it’s simple and it will be your cheapest multi-vitamin. One can argue that fish stock is the most nutritious, especially when using the fish heads which are full of iodine and supportive of the thyroid.

Stock is the flavor foundation of professional kitchens. Its extremely nutrient rich quality should make stock the foundation of your home kitchen. Simmering fish, chicken, or meat bones in water extracts numerous minerals and nutrients that have been used for healing in cultures around the world.

For a while I was lucky enough to buy freshly made stock from Motti of Gordon’s Fish Emporium until it unfortunately closed down last summer. But I asked Motti if he would come to my home and share his recipe and method.

Motti from Gordon's Fish Emporium

The only bones I was able to acquire that day was salmon bones. Bones from white-fleshed non-oliy fish are preferred, but salmon bones work as well – though may be best not to cook as long as others. It’s unfortunate that most fish today show up already filleted at the markets. Even a dedicated fish market in Los Angeles left me no option of acquiring fish bones.

You may have to order fish bones in advance  – or if you can get a whole fish, have the fishmonger fillet it for you and reserve the bones and fish head for stock (they freeze well). It is well worth it for both the flavor and nutrition it will add to your dishes!!

For kosher cooks – fish stock is a must. I don’t make any kind of soups without a bone broth foundation – but when you are using dairy ingredients like butter or cream, chicken and meat stocks are out of the question.

I also highly recommend using stocks for any grain preparation for enhanced digestion. Fish stocks works especially well for risottos and any other grain preparation in place of water (see my oven-baked white or brown rice as an example).

“Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.” Escoffier


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  1. joannabanana21 says

    can i use things like shrimp shells, crab/lobster shells, or mussel/clam shells?? i mainly eat shellfish and wondered if it was possible to make stock out of them. how long would it take?

  2. Samantha says

    Hi Lisa,

    Have you found that a stock made from white fish heads/bones makes vegetable soups taste “fishy”? I have a quart of halibut stock sitting in my freezer and I want to make a cauliflower soup with crème fraîche, but I’m not sure the flavor of halibut will marry very well into the soup.

    If you can taste it, are there stronger tasting vegetables that you can get away with it?



    • says

      I found that the intensity in my fish broths differs with each batch, so some times are more fishy than others. If it does seem very fishy, I end up using half broth and half water. And it probably does depend what you’re using it with. But I’ve used it for plain white rice, risotto, and chowders and has worked with all of them.
      I think the cauliflower and creme fraiche will mask the taste of the broth…
      Start with half broth and half water and see how it goes.
      Let us know!
      Lisa recently posted..The Ultimate Breakfast Recipe Collection

  3. Rivkah says

    I have a supply of flounder available locally. You say it should not be cooked more than 20 minutes…does that mean you do not recommend it for stock?


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