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Question about using shrimp shells for broth

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm embarrassed to admit that all the years I've used shrimp and tossed away the shells that I just found out about using these shells to make broth!  But to many confusing messages about how to do this.  Just last night I took shells, added water and cooked it for a little while and the whole house wreaked of shrimp BUT when I added a bay leaf and white peppercorns the aroma was very nice but did not get this right.  Everything I've read says the broth is exceptional...mine...not.  The broth did boil, was I not supposed to do this and maybe just let it simmer? I would like to explore ways to use seafood like shrimp shells including the cooking process, using herbs, butter anything that someone would guide me through on this.  Next time I believe I will try a pot of shells and add lemons, maybe basil and onions but I'm in the dark here on this. Thank you for any help here.

post #2 of 15

Put the shells and heads on a pot with some oil. Crush them with a potato masher or something like that and burn them a little to extract the juices. Add a mirepoix, some herbs, salt and pepper, water, a little withe wine, an simmer for about 30'. Then strain the broth and reduce it. A final step should be passing the fumé through cofee cotton cloth. I do not add lemmons to fumé, but sometimes sliced ginger works charm.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thank you rodo, I'm writing this down!
 

post #4 of 15

One clarification - do not "burn" them as ordo suggests.  Maybe get a little color but burning is not a desirable flavor.

 

I would start off by sauteeing some onions, celery and carrots in olive oil.  Add a little garlic and the shrimp shells.  Add a bit of white wine or vermouth and a bay leaf or other herbs and peppercorns.  Add water and bring to a simmer.  Put the lid on and turn it on the lowest setting and let it go for 30-60min. 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

I will note this and now i cannot wait to get more shrimp just to try it! Thank you :)
 

post #6 of 15

I save shrimp shells in the freezer and when I get enough I make a stock that I use for cioppino.  I also like skate wing cartilage for stock too when I can get skate.

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks Mike but i have what is I'm sure a stupid question, what is a skate? 

I am now saving all the shrimp shells and freezing them, I cannot wait until I get a chance to use them.

post #8 of 15
Originally Posted by bluefd40 View Post
What is a skate?

It's a primitive fish, a kind of ray.  It's wing has lots of cartilage.  Here's what the fish looks like:

Although in real life, skates are larger and swim in the ocean and don't just sit on your computer screen.  That pic is from light, when you see skate at the fish monger, their color is grey. 

 

Here's a picture of a skate wing, prepped for use:

 

Credit where credit is due: I copied the pics from Wiki. 

 

BDL

post #9 of 15

I find that shrimp heads pack quite a punch whereas shells kinda don't. I'd definitely roast the shells either over the stove or in the oven, before adding aromatics. Having said that, even without roasting the shells and without any aromatics, water plus shells can produce a reasonably flavorful stock as long as you reduce it. And I'm talking reducing it til you taste enough shrimp-ness. 

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

Boar_d_laze, That is interesting but there is no skate around my area that I know of...but it is interesting. If that has huge/thick spider looking legs, then i have an idea of what it is.  How did you ever get to try something like this???

 

Kongfeet, I will ad this to my list started from here, I appreceate all the help I can get :)  I believe the shrimp base I made last week might be to plain and bland.  I tried cooking it down for awhile but probably not enough.  My husband used to bring shrimp back with the heads on but that has been many years ago and my area doesn't supply it, maybe Elmira NY might have it...will have to do a search on that.

post #11 of 15

I roast mine a bit add herbs and spices and cook gently.  Every time I peel shrimp I save the shells in a plastic bag in freezer. When I feel I have enough then I prep them and freeze the resulting court type boullion for later use

CHEFED
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post #12 of 15

About reducing stock, it might take longer than you expect. It all depends on the water to all the other stuff ratio that you started out with. Also, your shrimp shells may not contain as much flavor as the shells that the guy who wrote the recipe used. That's why instructions like reduce the stock by half or third don't really work for me. The best way is to taste as you go. When you have the shrimp flavor to your liking, that's when the stock is done. Hope this helps.

post #13 of 15

Oh, and I almost forgot. About skate/ skate wings, if you really want, check Asian markets (Korean or Japanese) in your area. They usually have frozen ones. Having said that, it's still a lot better to get fresh ones. Even better if you can get a whole skate with liver and all. There's been so much hype over monk fish liver but I'd take skate liver over monk fish liver anyday. And the left over cartilage is awesome, too, if you simmer it long enough. It's got a texture similar to tendon. 

post #14 of 15

When I used to go fishing in the colder monthes in Jamaica Bay off Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn is where I saw and helped catch a skate . It was a big fish, according to guy I was with who was an experienced fisherman  could really hurt you. First it bites second there is a fin on it that is like a razor blade. You must handle it with heavy gloves. Needless to say I did not go near it till it was long dead then cleaned it for him. He told me to take a pice of it home  . I did, cooked it  and it was very good.

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post #15 of 15

Great story Ed - I caught a small skate on a sand bar we were fishing on the Indian River near Port Canaveral last summer.  He hooked himself pretty good and the pliers were in the boat so I had to walk him like a dog on a leash for a couple hundred years to get them.  I let him go as there wouldn't have been enough for four.

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