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How to Prepare a Seafood Fumet

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Seafood fumet is one of the basic cooking preparations that you should master to enjoy a variety of meals with the full flavour of the sea. This preparation is simple and highly versatile, serving as a base for countless recipes.

Here’s how to make seafood fumet so that you always have this fish stock on hand, ready to save the day in your kitchen.

What is seafood fumet, and what is it used for?

Seafood fumet is a stock base made by cooking down various types of fish, seafood, and crustaceans. It is used as a base for many culinary preparations, especially in Mediterranean cuisine.

It is also a recipe for making the most of every part of the fish and seafood that may not be consumed as it is, such as bones, shells and heads. It is common to include the by-catch, or rather the low-value fish not suitable for filleting or cooking.

Its intense and complex flavour makes it an essential ingredient to add taste and enhance the flavour profile of dishes.

This stock is used in various preparations, such as rice dishes and paellas, fideuá, fish stews, seafood croquettes, fish soups, casseroles, and sauces.

Ingredients to make a good seafood fumet

To prepare a seafood stock, you can choose from the most consumed seafood and fish in Spain that are available in your area and that’s preferably in-season. If you prepare it with fresh ingredients, you can freeze it in portions afterwards to make the most of it and defrost only what you need.

It’s also a good idea to freeze fish bones and heads to prepare the stock at a later time.

We recommend making a fish and seafood fumet whenever you are going to cook a dish using these ingredients. For example, if you’re preparing a prawn salad, use the shells and heads to make a fumet that can later be used for a seafood paella or added to the béchamel sauce for prawn cannelloni.

The basic ingredients are as follows:

  • 200 g of raw prawn (shrimp) or king prawn heads
  • 500 g of the bones and heads of white fish such as hake or monkfish
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 leek
  • 1 carrot
  • 150 ml of white wine
  • 150 ml of cognac
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • One bay leaf

In addition to these basic ingredients, you can use other ingredients to add aroma and provide different flavours, such as parsley or saffron. It’s also a good idea to use rockfish and more economical seafood like mantis shrimp, which contribute a great flavour.
Seafood Fumet

How to make a good fish fumet.

The secret to achieving a powerful flavour lies in two key points. Firstly, it is essential to thoroughly sauté the shells or seafood you are using. The second crucial point is to flambé the ingredients with brandy or cognac before adding water.

Let’s see step by step, how to make seafood fumet:

  1. In a large pot, cover the bottom with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil. Add the prawn heads and shells, mantis shrimp, or the crabs you are using to make the fumet and let them sauté over a medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking.
  2. Crush the heads and crustaceans with the help of a ladle or wooden spoon to release all their juices.
  3. Once golden brown, add the white wine and increase the heat to let the alcohol evaporate. It’s best to use a dry white wine.
  4. Add the cognac or brandy and flambé until the flame has extinguished. Be careful not to burn yourself and do not turn on the smoke extractor while there is still a flame.
  5. Add the peeled vegetables, salt, pepper and the bay leaf and add water until you cover the other ingredients.
  6. Let the broth simmer over medium heat.
  7. When it starts to boil, skim off the foam to remove any impurities and ensure a clear stock.
  8. Do not cook for more than half an hour, as the flavour may lose it’s essence and begin to turn bitter or acquire a metallic taste.
  9. Strain the broth using a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer and use as you see fit.

Some prefer to finish the broth by blending it to create a thicker and more intense broth. If you choose to blend it, remove the larger fish bones and the fish you have used beforehand. Also, remove the bay leaf and aromatic herbs to prevent the broth from becoming bitter.

We recommend using this technique only when making the fumet exclusively with heads and shells to achieve an optimal broth texture. Always strain with a muslin or a cheesecloth strainer to eliminate impurities.

Seafood fumet is a simple and basic recipe that will serve you well in preparing all kinds of delicious dishes. However, if you want to enjoy the taste of the sea in a seafood restaurant in Barcelona without having to cook, Chao Pescao awaits you with the freshest seafood and fish.

We look forward to welcoming you at our new restaurant in La Maquinista and at our seafood restaurant at Consell de Cent, 318 (Barcelona), known for being one of the best restaurants on Passeig de Gràcia.

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