I first mentioned Fish Head Soup over a year ago, when Josh and I were experimenting with coquinas. It’s been a while since we have been at the beach, and even longer since any of us has caught a fish worth keeping. Finally Matthew brought in a nice catch–a Redfish just big enough to keep. I fileted it and blackened it for lunch, and with what was left over made a Josh favorite–Fish Head Soup.
What goes in the pot really depends on what we happen to have with us on vacation. I’ve thrown in carrots, diced tomato, herbs, etc., but the version I made on this trip is Fish Head Soup in all its simple deliciousness–just salt, onion, garlic, and water. Oh, and a fish head, of course.
1 fish head, spine & tail
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 small onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
Water to cover the fish (around 8 cups for a 3 lb fish)
Other herbs and aromatics as you see fit
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the fish, breaking the spine as needed to fit in the pot. Quarter the onion and add it to the pot as well. Saute the fish for a few minutes on each side, stirring the onion as well. Once the flesh starts to cook through and the onion takes on a little color, add the crushed garlic clove, the salt, and water. You will have to judge the water based on the size of the fish. I didn’t weigh Matthew’s redfish, but I would guess it to be around 3 lbs. I used 8 cups of water, which worked out fine.
Heat on medium until just under a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover. Let simmer for around 30-40 minutes. Adjust the salt as needed, then strain before serving, making sure you have removed all the bones.
I usually don’t bother to pick the remaining meat off of the bones, but you certainly could, and then add it back to the broth. Do make sure you scoop out those fish cheeks, though, if you have never tasted them before. They are tasty morsels!
Josh and I will eat this broth as a side to whatever fish we’ve caught and cooked that day. The leftover usually works its way into some other dish later on. This time, it became the liquid base for the shrimp and grits gravy that we made for dinner.