A waste and money-saving recipe from Malou Herkes
I recently got my hands on a head of hake which, if you’ve never seen one, is rather large. I had limited time, so I threw it in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and lots of black pepper. After 30 minutes, I flaked away the succulent meat and had the makings of a tasty meal for two. Isn’t it crazy that so much flavour and nutrition so often ends up in the fishmonger’s bin? Now when buying fish, I’ll ask if there are any bones or heads going spare. If it’s a particularly large fish, I will roast the head whole or otherwise make them into stock.
This recipe will give you the rich, flavoursome base for noodle soup, shellfish broths or risotto, and a bit of fish meat to bulk it out too—I’ll leave you to decide which direction you want to take it in. When making fish stock, avoid using oily fish like salmon or mackerel, as it will make your broth rancid. If you manage to get more fish bones, I recommend doubling this recipe and freezing the surplus for another day.
For more waste and money-saving tips, read Malou’s latest blog
For the tomato fish stock:
1 onion, peeled and chopped
Butter or oil, for frying
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 fresh chilli, halved lengthways
A good handful of herbs, such as parsley, thyme, wild fennel (or 1 tsp fennel seeds), bay leaf, dill
200ml dry white wine
1kg fish bones and heads
1 x 400g tin of tomatoes
For the noodle soup:
150g egg noodles
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
150g cherry tomatoes
Add the onion to a large pot with the butter or oil. Sweat until softened. Add the garlic, along with the anchovies, chilli and herbs. If using parsley, wild fennel or dill, add the stalks only (pick the leaves or fronds and set aside for later). Cook for 2 mins, then pour in the wine and let it bubble down for a few mins.
Wash the fish under running water to get rid of the bloodline (otherwise it will make your stock bitter), then add to the pan with the tin of tomatoes. Fill the tin with hot water and add that too. Top up with a little more water so the fish is just covered, but not so much that you dilute the flavour. Season with black pepper, cover and simmer for 20 mins. If you’re not in any hurry, leave the fish bones in the pot overnight to let the flavours intensify. Otherwise, remove the majority of the fish bones and heads and set aside.
Remove as much meat from the fish heads as you can. You might be surprised how much you can get! Set the fish meat aside and compost the rest.
Strain the stock through a sieve into another pan, using the back of a spoon to push through as much as possible, for maximum flavour.
To make the noodle soup, return the stock to the heat, bring to the boil and add the noodles. Cook according to the packet instructions. In another pan, fry the garlic and tomatoes in oil or butter until broken down and smelling good. Add to the broth along with the fish meat and stir to warm through. Serve with plenty of finely chopped herbs and fresh chilli, if you have it.
Recipe: Malou Herkes