How to Make Fish Fumet (Fish Stock) and Seafood Stock

by formerchef on September 30, 2014

Post image for How to Make Fish Fumet (Fish Stock) and Seafood Stock

This post is the last in a series on home made stocks. Make sure you check out the posts on chicken stock, veal stock and vegetable stock for more on the basics of making stock. 

Fish fumet (pronounced foo-may) is a fish stock made from fish bones (and sometimes the head) of white fish such as halibut, bream, or bass. Avoid adding any skin or bloodline as this can make the stock cloudy. Fish fumet can be used as the base for some delicate sauces for poached fish, or in seafood soups like bouillabaisse, cioppino or when made with seafood, for lobster or crab bisque.

In this stock the vegetables are finely chopped because you want maximum flavor in minimum time. Rapid boiling can make the stock cloudy and simmering for longer than 20-30 min can yield a bitter flavor.

To make a seafood stock, replace the fish bones with shrimp, crab or lobster shells. See the bottom of the recipe below for instructions.

How to make Fish Fumet (fish stock) and Seafood stock

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 8 cups


  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 pounds fish bones
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 leek, white/light green part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 each stalks celery, ½” dice
  • 1 medium yellow onion, ½” dice
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon white peppercorns
  • 1 ounce fresh flat leaf parsley


  1. Rinse the fish bones to remove any excess skin or scales which might be sticking to them.
  2. Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the vegetables and stir. Cook them for about a minute but do not allow them to color. Add the fish bones and cover the pot, allowing the bones to cook until they start to become opaque (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the cold water, bay leaf, peppercorns and parsley. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.
  4. Cool and strain through cheesecloth.


Seafood stock option: replace the fish bones with shrimp, crab or lobster shells.

Get the pot very hot and add the oil.

Add the shells and cook in the hot oil until they become pink.

Add the vegetables and cook until they begin to soften (about 3 minutes).

Add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and cook it with the shells for 30 seconds.

Add the wine and stir. Add the water and herbs. Simmer and strain.

{ 0 Make my day! Say something... }

California Caprese-Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, Basil and Avocado

It’s the middle of August and my tomatoes are almost done. I’ve had a banner year in terms of yield, but since I planted in April and we have an early growing season, almost everything came ripe at once in July. I always say I’m going to stagger the planting, but I never do because I’m so enthralled by choice when at the nursery. Better Boy? Green Zeebra? Lemon Boy? Brandywine? San Marzano? Why yes, I’ll take one of each please.


This is about 2 weeks worth of tomatoes in July.

Since I don’t can my tomatoes, I mostly make sauce and soup and freeze it. I also freeze peeled and seeded tomatoes. And we eat lots and lots of fresh tomatoes in salads, on bagels, in sandwiches (best BLT ever), but the caprese is probably our favorite way of eating fresh tomatoes. The traditional Insalata Caprese originated on the Italian island of Capri and includes red sliced tomatoes, white sliced fresh mozarella and green basil; all the colors of the Italian flag. I call this a “California” Caprese because the non-traditional addition of avocado which, if you don’t have Green Zeebra tomatoes, gives a lovely bit of color as well as it’s smooth creamy flavor to the dish. Also, I include balsamic vinegar which is not traditional when ordering this salad in Italy, but has become more common here in the US. In this recipe I use a reduced balsamic which is often called “cream of balsamic” or “balsamic glaze“. I like the little bit of extra sweetness and the fact that it sticks to the ingredients rather than running off and pooling on the bottom of the plate. Play with this all you want; use all colors and sizes of tomato. Leave off the avocado or if you’re vegan, consider it a substitution for the cheese. But what ever you do, use the best possible ingredients; use  truly ripe tomatoes and the best quality fresh mozzarella (either buffalo or cow’s milk) you can find. The mozzarella you grate on pizza is not the same thing as fresh soft mozzarella, trust me. Use a decent quality vinegar or leave it off all together as the Italians do. This recipe is so simple you can assemble it in five minutes and can easily bring it to a pot luck to be assembled there.

California Caprese; Tomato, Mozzarella, and Avocado.

California Caprese-Tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella, and Avocado


  • 1 pound fresh ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4" thick
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4" thick
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced 1/4" thick
  • 1/2 oz fresh basil leaves, sliced chiffonade
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic syrup or vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon maldon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Slice all the tomatoes, cheese and avocado. Layer them onto a platter, alternating colors of tomato (if you have them) with slices of cheese and avocado.
  2. Sprinkle the basil chiffonade (sliced into "ribbons"), the sea salt, and pepper over the top.
  3. Drizzle the olive oil and vinegar over everything.

 California Caprese; Tomato, Mozzarella, and Avocado.


Emulsified Sauces and How to make Hollandaise

August 10, 2014
Thumbnail image for Emulsified Sauces and How to make Hollandaise

Emulsified sauces are one part chemistry, one part culinary magic. Take two ingredients which, “like oil and water”, should not blend together, and with a little effort, they become one delicious whole. An emulsified sauce is literally the blending of fat (butter or oil) and water (wine, vinegar or egg yolk- which is more than […]

Read the full article →

Grilled Zucchini with Toasted Fennel Seed Vinaigrette

August 2, 2014
Thumbnail image for Grilled Zucchini with Toasted Fennel Seed Vinaigrette

Are you knee deep in zucchini? If you have a garden, it’s that time of year. I learned a long time ago that unless I want to feed an army, buying a six pack of zucchini seedlings is a mistake and will result in friends and neighbors running the other way when they see you […]

Read the full article →

Steak au Poivre

July 12, 2014
Thumbnail image for Steak au Poivre

Like most classic dishes, steak au poivre has as many versions as there are colors in a jumbo box of crayons. Food historians think that the dish originated in the Normandy region of France in the 19th century. Lore has it that it was a favorite late night meal in bistros and bordellos due to the reported […]

Read the full article →

All About Pepper

July 7, 2014
Thumbnail image for All About Pepper

A little bit about pepper…. You might be surprised, but pepper is the most traded and most popular spice in the world. Peppercorns are the fruit (aka drupes) of the tropical vine, Piper Nigrum. When the fruit is ripe, it turns red, but sometimes it’s picked and processed before it’s ripe which then changes the […]

Read the full article →