Save Prawn Shells And Fish Bones For More Flavorful Seafood Risotto

With the sweet, buttery flesh of fish or prawns in front of you, the bones and shells are often given little thought. They're cast aside, regarded as annoyances that are in between you and the delicious meat within the shell or surrounding the bones. It's tempting to toss them, but don't — prawn shells and fish bones make excellent broth for seafood risotto.

Although risotto is typically made with chicken or vegetable stock, the seafood variety requires more specific flavors. Making a quick broth out of fish and prawn remains helps to infuse seafood risotto with a delicate, fresh taste that can't be derived with a few pieces of shrimp or mussels. Unlike chicken or bone broth, fish broth doesn't take as long to prepare. Within 45 minutes, the bones and shells will have infused the liquid with enough flavor to make a pot of seafood risotto.

Heat butter or oil in a pot and saute chopped onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in the fat. After a few minutes, add in prawn shells, fish bones, and fish heads. Pour in water and white wine, as well as rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves, and allow everything to simmer for half an hour. Once the broth is strained, use it to make seafood risotto, jambalaya, or paella.

What kind of fish should you use to make fish broth?

Since a mild taste goes best with a variety of seafood dishes, neutral, light fish like cod, halibut, or snapper are often employed for fish stock. For stock that can be used in everything from seafood risotto to shrimp fried rice, it's best to set the mackerel, herring, and sardines aside. While salmon is also not the top choice for broth due to its fishy, oily flavor, a few bones from the beloved fish can lend a richer flavor to risotto that does feature salmon.

To give fish stock a hint of sweetness, prawn shells are the perfect addition. Although the flavor won't be quite as sweet, shrimp shells work in a pinch, as they contain flavor compounds that will make the broth savory. However, they should be added in the last 10 minutes of cooking to get the best flavor.

If you've recently had a seafood boil, shrimps aren't the only crustaceans to be used to make broth. Save the crab and lobster shells to make lobster risotto. The process to make seafood broth is similar to fish broth. The major difference is a dash of tomato paste added when sauteeing the aromatics to lend the broth a zesty, sweet finish.