Fish Broth

This is a basic, versatile broth.  It’s very mild and can be used in place of chicken broth in most recipes.  I use it in soups like gumbo, gazpacho and Thai wedding soup.  It makes the most of your catch, and it doesn’t take as long as other bone broths.

key lime gazpacho (6)

We’ve experimented with lots of different fish:  grouper, redfish, sheepshead, pompano. They’re all good, but the strength and flavor varies by species.  If it’s too concentrated for your taste, just add water.

We use this Dark Star burner, along with a 64-quart stock pot.  You can certainly make it on the stovetop and divide the recipe if you want to use a smaller pot.

Sometimes we travel with the propane burner (it’s great for blackening fish, too).  It keeps the cooking smells outside, but then the whole neighborhood knows what you’re up to. Last year Toby and my brother made a batch of grouper broth in the Keys.  Key deer came from all over to check it out.  The next time we tried to use beach chairs as a barricade.  It wasn’t very effective.key deer fish broth

key deer sniffing the broth

Grouper broth:  Key deer inspected and approved.

Fish Broth


  • 3-6 fish (pompano, grouper, snapper, etc)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 celery heart, cut in 2-3″ pieces
  • 2 carrots, cut in 2-3″ pieces
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 gallons of filtered water


Fillet the fish and remove the guts and gills.  Rinse them well with cold water to remove any blood.  Separate the heads and frames.  If necessary, chop them into smaller pieces to fit in the pot.

Heat a large (at least 30 quart) non-reactive stock pot over medium-low.  Add the butter.  Sauté the onion for a few minutes.  Add the celery, carrots, bay leaves and peppercorns.  Continue sautéing for about 8 minutes.

Stack the fish heads and frames over the vegetables.  Add the white wine.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the water.

Raise the heat and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface.

Remove the pot from the heat.  Remove the fish and vegetables using a slotted spoon.  Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve.  You may also strain through cheesecloth if you’d like the broth perfectly clear.  Transfer to storage containers.  Refrigerate immediately.  Freezes well for several months.

3 Comments Fish Broth

  1. Robin Draper March 24, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    GREAt post! thanks!

    1. suwanneerose March 25, 2015 at 8:15 am

      Thank you, Robin!

  2. Pingback: Mediterranean Seafood Soup | Suwannee Rose

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