Oh yeah.. we love Fish Bones. Nope I do not have a cat fetish of chewing on the leftover fish bones. But give a chef a pack of fish bones and you'll see how many dishes can be churned out!
I bet many of you have read about Bisque of some sort. Lobster Bisque or the humbler Shrimp Bisque are all equally wicked seafoodly thick soup cooked for hours till perfection. Wikipedia quoted Bisque as being creamy but actually Cream is not necessary. Bisque is essentially a pureed crustacean (Crabs, Prawns, Lobsters) soup. You can read it over at this Wikipedia article.
Why am I talking about Bisque? Well.. I think the idea is how to use leftover. The shells of Crustaceans are really valuable ingredient for enhancing a stock. (Guess that's the thing that makes me itch! But I love it!) It's very much like Fish Bones. The discarded portions where no one likes to eat. But it can be turned into a lovely rich soup which is of restaurant standard.
For my case here, I have used the leftover bones of Škarpina (Large Scale Scorpion Fish) to make a Bouillabaisse. It is the most famous French soup originating from Marseilles. I used to cook this soup weekly at my restaurant. It is served with spiced croutons, a Rouille sauce (a mayonnaise-based sauce where each restaurant has its secret recipe) and handsome serving of Gruyere cheese. Oh life couldn't get any better than this! For those interested in the reading more about this soup, click on this wikipedia link.
To cook this soup, you'll need your regular vegetables for stock making: Carrots, Celery, Onions, Garlic (oh and Fennel in this case too!) and your rack of herbs do come in handy at this point. The more you can put into this soup, the richer the flavour! So throw in your bay leaves, thyme, sage (essentially your Bouquet Garni) and Parsley, etc... The expensive Saffron can help to bring the flavour to the next level.. yeap.. POSH level. Well.. of course, the most important Tomato Puree must be added to bring out the lovely red golden sparkle in the soup.
There is not hard and fast rule to the making of this Soup. You can add in a few fish fillets for more flavour. Season the fish bones and fillets overnight with Garlic, Onions, Saffron, Salt & Pepper and Olive Oil. One more little trick, brown the bones and fillets before throwing them into the soup for cooking. Then comes the rest of the ingredients into the pot and cook till you are happy with the flavours. Last step, pureed your soup with a food processor (yeah everything including the bones and all!) and strain to remove the bigger pieces (and bones). If you like a little more spice, add in the French favourite - Cayenne Pepper. Serve with spiced croutons! Well.. who knows this dish is made from leftover Fish Bones now?