How Do You Make Fish Head Soup
Fish head soup is something that a lot of people have never tried, and a lot more would never want to try, but you might be interested in learning how to make fish head soup. Fish heads do not have the best reputation. They are not attractively cut filets, nor are they chunky steaks, but they do have their uses.
So, should you try this soup? You never know – you might enjoy it. Just forget your food is ‘looking back at you’ and grab a spoon! Eating the eyeballs is optional but as you would imagine they are gelatinous and soft. The rest of the flesh from the head is meaty and offers an intense fishy flavor. If you enjoy fish, eating the flesh from the head is really no different to eating a filet.
The Recipe for This Delicacy
You will need 1½ pounds of fish heads to make the soup. Choose salmon, hake, cod, grouper, steelhead, trout, croaker or similar. Anything with a medium or large head will work nicely. Blot the heads on paper towels, and then split each one in half, using strong kitchen shears or a meat cleaver.
Bring a few inches of oil to 400 degrees F in a wok and add the fish heads, a couple at a time so they do not splatter. Fry them until they are golden brown all over, then drain and blot on paper towels. Bring a few cups of water to a boil and add the fish heads. You can add extra water if necessary, since the heads should be covered.
Add some thick slices of fresh ginger, a tablespoon of Shao Xing rice wine or sake, a couple of thickly sliced green onions, and a 6-ounce can of Sichuan pickled mustard greens (do not drain it first.) Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for 20 minutes, or until the flesh is falling off the fish heads and the broth is milky white. You can use a spoon to skim the oil off the top if there is a lot.
If you like, you can also add bean thread noodles. Just soften them in warm water before you add them and then give them 3 minutes in the soup. Serve the fish head soup garnished with finely sliced green onions.
Where to Get Fish Heads
If you buy whole fish, you will get the heads on there, but what if you do not necessarily want to buy twenty whole fish just to get twenty fish heads? You can usually get free ones if you hang around at docks or wharves while the fishermen are cleaning their catch. They often toss the unwanted parts (like the heads) to the seals or just into the water, so they will not mind giving it to you instead.
Another idea is to freeze the heads of any whole fish you do use in recipes (where you do not need the heads) and then when you have enough frozen heads you can make this soup.
So, the next time someone asks you ‘how do you make fish head soup’ you can proudly tell them you know how to make it and offer to rustle up this oriental delicacy for them to taste. It is a beloved gourmet treat in some cuisines, and you might be surprised with the flavor.
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