seafood stock (with shellfish & mollusks)seafood stock (with shellfish & mollusks)seafood stock (with shellfish & mollusks)seafood stock (with shellfish & mollusks)seafood stock (with shellfish & mollusks)seafood stock (with shellfish & mollusks)seafood stock (with shellfish & mollusks)

Believe it or not, your final preparations, whatever they may be and if they require any broth or stock, will only be as good as the broth or stock you use and incorporate into your dishes, whether home-made or store-bought.

Many view stock or broth as just an ingredient and most often as a cube or two of dehydrated and compressed powders, to be diluted in water. 

It’s much more than that.

A home-made broth is not only more flavorful and healthier but also the best way to use up all sorts of leftovers, whether expensive or not … and I mean absolutely all leftovers.

Bones, skins and scraps from cuts of meat, shells and carcasses from seafood and shellfish, heads, fins and tails from whole fish, whether raw or already cooked and discarded and probably headed to the trash after you’re done. Vegetable peelings, cores, extra leaves, stalks, root ends and skins, along with the stalks of aromatic herbs. And let’s not forget those dried out rinds of cheeses too. Just place your scraps in freezer bags and freeze them until you decide to make a broth or stock !

These are often the base of most stocks and broths. I usually weigh the solid ingredients and multiply by 3 the amount of water to be used and add coarse sea salt and peppercorns and other spices, some apple cider vinegar, which will break down the collagen in bones and I add some extra onion, carrot and celery and of course some bay leaves and occasionally, anything that might deepen the flavor, like soy sauce, an anchovy or some fish sauce, dried mushrooms or my personal favorite which is “marmite”, a fermented yeast extract spread from the United Kingdom that complexifies everything.

Everything is assembled together, comes to a boil, is covered with a lid and is simmered at very low heat for at least 2-4 hours, whether on the stove-top or in the oven in a cast-iron dish with a cover. Then you strain it well and transfer it to freezer bags in 1 or 2 cup portions or reheat it if necessary and store it, while still hot in hot sterilized jars, to keep it handy in a cool place or refrigerator.

I make this seafood stock only once or twice per year and it’s enough for the whole year, frozen in blocks and ready to be used for special occasions like this one, making “seafood vol-au-vent puff-pastry starters” (see recipe here) for the holiday season.

Use up your scraps to save the planet, to save your hard-earned money and to make something delicious … :)

seafood stock (with shellfish & mollusks)


1 liter (4 cups)


  • 500 grams shellfish carcasses and mollusk shells (275 grams crab shell, 125 grams shrimp heads and shells, 125 grams mussel shells)
  • 100 grams (½ cup) tomato, large slices
  • 100 grams (½ cup) onion, large slices
  • 100 grams (½ cup) carrot, marge slices
  • 100 grams (½ cup) leek or fennel, large slices
  • 25 grams (2 tbsp) celery, small slices
  • 12,5 grams (1 tbsp) garlic, cut in half
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
  • 60 ml (4 tbsp) vermouth (or cognac)
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) white wine
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) white wine vinegar
  • 15 grams (1 tbsp) salt
  • 1 gram (5-6 whole) black peppercorns
  • 1 gram (5-6 whole) pink peppercorns
  • 5 grams (2 short stems) flat-leaf parsley 
  • 3 grams (1 small stem) tarragon
  • 3 grams (1 small stem) basil
  • 3 grams (1 small stem) dill
  • 1 gram (2 whole) bay leaves
  • optional : 1 pinch (1/8 tsp) saffron threads
  • 1,5 liters (6 cups) water (or 3 cups water + 2 cups fish stock + 1 cup mussel water)


  • slightly crush the scraps of seafood shells and carcasses and heat up, at medium high heat in a large casserole with the olive oil for 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients (not liquids) and cook and stir for an additional 2-3 minutes, add the vermouth, white wine and vinegar and stir and scrape the bottom of the casserole as it deglazes and finally add the water or combination of water and fish stock and remaining mussel water (used when steaming open the mussel shells), bring to a boil, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid and let simmer for 3 hours minimum until ready and fragrant; then let cool down slightly, strain well and reserve the hot seafood stock in heated and sterilized jars or let cool down completely and freeze as blocks as I do in 250 grams or 1 cup portions, later sealed in freezer bags after frozen as blocks …