Salmon Head Fish Stock
Tara Carpenter, NC.
Holistic nutrition for digestion; specialized in yeast overgrowth.
Originally published: April 1, 2014
Salmon heads are packed with tender meat and abundant fat along the jawbone and prized for making rich fish stock that can be used as a base for soup of all kinds. Salmon head fish stock contains vitamin A, Omega-3, iron, zinc, and calcium.
I felt apprehensive to make salmon head stock because though I have experience with chicken and other meat stock, I have never made fish stock and imagined my whole home would smell fishy!
I knew the benefits of stock in general; that this liquid gold can strengthen bones and joints, reverse tooth decay, and as an anti-inflammatory brings health to thyroid, eyes, and gut lining. What convinced me is that fish head stock is a traditional food that’s been around for centuries and revered in most parts of the world.
As many of my readers know, I love preserving traditional foods like milk kefir, cod liver oil, unsalted kraut, marrow, and liver. These are the foods I give my attention to and talk about. The foods gracing my kitchen with hope of normalizing them for my own children who will one day give to their children: my grandchildren.
This looking ahead propels me to the fish market for a pair of wild salmon heads. On making the stock, I am surprised the smell is pleasant and the stock is as savory as chicken stock with a delicacy all its own. Very easy to make! Two hours start to finish.
Fish Head Stock
Makes: about 5 cups
1-2 pounds of salmon fish heads
2-4 garlic cloves
1-2 bay leaves
1-2 Tbsp. ginger, thinly sliced
- Remove gills with kitchen shears; these are attached to the head on each end; cut them at the joint where they attach. Discard. If you skip this part, the gills will give stock bad color and off-taste. Ask the guy behind the fish counter to remove them for you.
- Clean thoroughly with water.
- Place them in a soup pot with enough water to cover heads by at least 1-inch.
- Add 2-4 garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves, and 1-2 Tbs. thin sliced ginger.
- Bring to simmer and reduce heat to low.
- Simmer for 30-45 minutes, should only bubble slightly, note that cooking for more than an hour will turn the stock bitter.
- Skim off any foam that may rise to the top.
- Strain through a couple layers of cheesecloth.
- Pick the meat and soft tissue off bones, anything soft is edible, including eyes and brains.
- Return the meat and tissue to the stock.
- Store in fridge up to 5 days or freeze for several months.
Tips & Tricks
- Add sauteed onions, garlic, leeks, cabbage, or lemon at any point while fish heads cook.
- Substitute fish stock for vegetable stock in fish chowder or creamy salmon soup.
- Squeamish about fish eyes? No worries, they dissolve into stock and fatty tissue around eyes is rich in vitamin A.
- Head is healthiest part of fish to eat, also the spine.
- Salmon heads give stock strong flavor; if want mild flavor try cod, halibut, bass, or another white fish. Use one type of fish or combo.
- This is a friendly recipe for those on The Body Ecology Diet; a healing protocol for gut imbalances (i.e., yeast overgrowth, GBS+).
- If have leaky gut, Crohn’s, autism, ADHD, seizures/tics, avoid long-cooked broth. Stick to short-cooked stocks because free glutamates (MSG, glutamine, glutamic acid) increase the longer bones are cooked. This can bother people.
- Hard time sourcing fish heads? Special order from these guys.
- Here’s a list of fish to eat, fish to avoid.
This recipe is from Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel who says best stock for bone/tooth decay comes from wild fish carcasses, heads, and organs.
Nagel, R. (2011). Cure Tooth Decay. Los Gatos, CA: Golden Child Publishing
Paula, CHS. (2012). Author of a website called Whole Intentions Fish Heads in My Stock Pot
Schuette, K. (2017). Stock vs. Broth – Are You Confused. Retrieved from Healthy Home Economist
Worker Bee (2016). Fish Head Broth. Retrieved from Mark’s Daily Apple
Photo credit: https://thedomesticman.com/tag/stock/
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May all bellies be happy!