Fourth of July has come and gone which means one thing in North Carolina—Shrimp season is here at last. Each year we like to help customers get the most out of their fresh shrimp. This summer we are focused on making shrimp stock.
Have you ever made your own shrimp stock? Nothing will add complexity and gourmet feel to your seafood dishes than shrimp stock. Once you make Jambalaya, Paella, or Bisque with shrimp stock you will never go back. Yet, you won’t find shrimp stock in the grocery aisle or Amazon.com. The closest you can get is shrimp base or seafood bouillon powder mixes that are a poor substitute.
This makes fresh shrimp from Locals Seafood a double treat. You get to eat the shrimp and then make stock to savor in other seafood dishes. Freeze ahead as much stock as you can to use all year long. Making stock with left over shells can become a part of your shrimp season routine. If available, you should pre-order head-on shrimp. The flavor in the heads will bring even shrimp essence to your stock. This summer we encourage you to recycle those shells and take advantage of this two-for-one opportunity brought to you by fresh shrimp.
Finally, it will take 45 min to an hour to simmer your stock. If you don’t have the time right away here are a couple of things you can do: if you are making pasta for your shrimp dish, throw the shells in the pasta water while it boils. Strain the shells out and cook the pasta in the shell-steeped water. Your guests will notice the difference! If you don’t have time to do anything with the shells keep them in the refrigerator overnight in a sealed container and make stock the next day.
There are many out there and you may have your own. For starters, we recommend this recipe from Emeril. Learn to include all the ingredients and steps in this rich version. Over time you can experiment with what to leave out to give you a stock you like with as little work as possible.
Regardless of your stock recipe, here are three tips on technique that will enhance its flavor:
- Sautee the shells in the stock pot with olive oil before adding water or the other ingredients. Once the shells turn opaque they are ready to go. This step coaxes even more of the shrimp flavor from the shells.
- Deglaze the pot with dry white wine before you add the next ingredients. This will help get the small bits of flavor from the pan.
- Skim as you go. While the stock simmers a little foam will rise to the top. Remove the foam with a slotted spoon. This will remove some of the fat and help the stock clarify.