Want to add extra flavor to your seafood dishes at no extra cost? Next time you're peeling shrimp, save the shells and make a quick stock.
- Heat about 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-low heat.
- Add the shrimp shells and toss well. Allow the shells to cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of water to the shells from each pound of shrimp (3 cups for the shells from 2lbs, etc.)
- Bring to a simmer, pressing down on the shells with a spatula or large spoon to extract maximum flavor. Simmer 5-7 minutes.
- Pour the stock through a mesh strainer into a saucepan, pressing down on the shells until all liquid is extracted.
- Taste for salt, adding a pinch if necessary and you're done! You now have a quick and flavorful basic stock that you can use for sauces, soups, etc.
- Some Easy Variations:
- Use flavored oils such as garlic, basil, or sundried tomato oil to saute the shells
- Use aromatics like fresh rosemary, celery leaves, allspice berries, or citrus rinds in the cooking water
- Substitute 1/4 - 1/2 cup of white wine or light chicken stock for an equal amount of the cooking water
- Pro Tip: Don't discard the shells even if you don't have the time or the need to make stock right away. Put them in a heavy-duty freezer bag or container and freeze them for later use. If tightly closed, they'll keep for about 3 months until you're ready for them.
- Extra Bonus Tip for Gardeners: After you've made the stock, add the mineral-rich shells to your compost pile or work them directly into the soil for the ultimate in recycling efficiency!