Fish stock for a perfect paella

Fish stock for a perfect paella
  • Serves icon for 4 people
  • Time icon 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.

Ingredients

4 tbsp good quality light olive oil
Shells and heads of 8 tiger prawns (see below)
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

Method

1. 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.
2. 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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