Making you own Shrimp Stock, for use in zuppa di mare, Cioppino or seafood risotto, is easy and fresh shrimp stock adds a deep layer of flavor unattainable with the use of a vegetable stock.
Do-it-yourself shrimp stock does take some planning. Primarily, you need to save shells from the shrimp that you peel for cooking. Ample Bites always buys raw, frozen shrimp and freezes the shells in zip-top plastic bags until I have at least a loosely-packed quart.
These shrimp shells seem, at first glance, to be of little value but there is a tremendous amount of flavor clinging to them. To make the Shrimp Stock Ample Bites uses the following recipe:
1 – 1 1/2 quart of loosely-packed shrimp shells
2 medium yellow onions, chopped coarsely
2 stalks of celery, chopped coarsely
2 medium-sized carrots, chopped coarsely
1 clove of garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tsp sea salt
1 bundle bouquet garni (5 sprigs of thyme, 2 bay leaves, 10 black peppercorns, 3 sprigs of parsley wrapped and tied in a piece of cheesecloth)
4 quarts cold water
Rinse the shrimp shells under cold water and place them in a stockpot with the remaining ingredients. Bring the stock to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the heat back to medium and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes. Allow the stock to cool and then strain through a fine strainer. If you will not be using the stock immediately you can store it in the refrigerator for 2-3 day or freeze in a sealed plastic container for about one month.
What did I tell you? Really easy, right? The scariest part for most home cooks is the term “bouquet garni” If you have cheesecloth, kitchen twine and the listed ingredients, it takes 2-3 minutes to put this element of the stock together.
A favorite Ample Bites recipe incorporating shrimp stock is Cioppino, sometimes called a seafood stew. The following recipe serves six.
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2” chunks
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 16-oz can whole tomatoes, undrained, crushed by hand
½ tsp, crushed red chile peppers
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves, broken in half
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped
1 cup shrimp stock or bottled clam juice
½ cup dry white wine
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
18 mussels, rinsed and debearded
2 lbs boneless, skinless haddock or cod filets, cut into 1 ½” chunks
3 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
Bring a large pot of slated water to a boil and add potatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 12-15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a 6-qt pot over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, chile flakes, garlic, onions, bay leaves, and peppers and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add fish stock, wine and salt and pepper and cook stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add fish and continue to cook, cover, until all of the mussels are opened and the fish is cooked through, 5-6 minutes more.
To serve, transfer fish stew to a large serving bowl and sprinkle with half the parsley and cilantro. Place the potatoes in another serving dish, sprinkle with remaining cilantro and parsley and serve alongside stew.
Ample Bites hopes you find the value in saving shrimp shells for Shrimp Stock. Enjoy the Cioppino while the weather is still relative cool. Mangia!