Fish stock for paella
- June 2008
- for 4 people
- Ready in just over an hour
A proper fish stock is essential if you want to get the same depth and richness of flavour for paella as the Spanish do.
- 4 tbsp good quality light olive oil
- Shells and heads of 8 tiger prawns (see method)
- 1 fish head or bones of 1 fish
- 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
- 2 fennel bulbs, diced
- 5 spring onions, thickly sliced
- 3 plum tomatoes, diced
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
- 125ml brandy
- Bunch fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 tsp sea salt
- To make the stock, heat the olive oil and cook the prawn heads, shells and fish head or bones for 1-2 minutes in a large saucepan (large enough for all the ingredients and 1.8 litres of water), breaking up the shells with a wooden spoon. Add the onion, fennel and spring onions and sweat over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until they start to caramelise. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée and paprika and cook for 5 minutes more.
- Pour the brandy into a ladle, light with a match and then immediately pour over the stock, allowing the alcohol to burn away. Deglaze the pan with a little hot water, scraping all the caramelised ingredients from the bottom with a wooden spoon, then add the thyme, bay leaves and 1.8 litres of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, reducing the liquid to leave about 1.1 litres of stock.
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