We had the amazing fortune of meeting Jaron Ayres at the PSU Farmers Market on Saturday, and as he bought packs of noodles, he announced he was going to make a broth from a salmon head he had in his freezer. We were curious, and lo and behold, not 48 hours later, Jaron shared his photos and recipe with us. It looks down right good enough to eat. Here is Jaron's recipe, an adaptation of a fish stock recipe that appeared in Bon Appetit in 2005. He describes the flavor as subtle, hinting more at seaweed than fish. He added Japanese ingredients like dried shiitake, sake, and green onion to boost the ramen affinity.
If you have caught a fish, or have a friend who just caught a fish, or simply get to know your local seafood counter clerks well enough to ask for some fresh odds and ends, this recipe is for you. You will end up with significantly more stock than you need, so keep it in your freezer for another day and another chowder!
We cannot overstate how much our relationships with our farmers market customers mean to us. We get invaluable feedback, inspiration, and delight from our interactions. Huge thanks to Jaron for his generosity and cooking chops!
Makes 2 quarts stock / 3 ramen servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, very thinly sliced
4 stalks celery, very thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, very thinly sliced
Handful dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 large (6 inches long or more) or 2 small (4 inches long or less) fish heads from salmon, cod, or haddock, split lengthwise, gills removed, and rinsed clean of any blood
2-1/2 to 3 pounds fish frames (bones) from salmon, sole, flounder, bass, and/or halibut, cut into 2-inch pieces and rinsed clean of any blood
1/4 cup sake
About 2 quarts very hot or boiling water
Kosher or sea salt
Miso and soy sauce to taste
1 package (12 ounces) Umi Organic ramen noodles
6 cups salmon stock (recipe above)
3 tablespoons white miso
3 teaspoons soy sauce
2 sliced scallion
3 soft boiled eggs, cut in half
Optional: Sesame oil, sautéed mushrooms, greens, poached fish
1. Melt the butter in a heavy 7- to 8-quart stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, dried shiitake, green onions, and peppercorns and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables become very soft without browning, about 8 minutes.
2. Place the fish head on the vegetables and stack the fish frames evenly on top. Pour in the sake, cover the pot tightly, and let the bones sweat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they have turned completely white.
3. Add enough very hot or boiling water to just barely cover the bones. Give the mixture a gentle stir and allow the brew to come to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered, carefully skimming off any white foam that comes to the surface, trying not to take any herbs, spices, or vegetables with it. (Using a ladle and a circular motion, push the foam from the center to the outside of the pot, where it is easy to remove.)
4. Remove the pot from the stove, stir the stock again, and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and season lightly with salt. If you are not going to be using the stock within the hour, chill it as quickly as possible. Cover the stock after it is thoroughly chilled (it will have a light jellied consistency) and keep refrigerated for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
5. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil.
6. Bring 6 cups stock to a simmer. Stir in miso and soy sauce. Taste and add more miso or soy to your saltiness level. Keep at a simmer.
7. Tease apart ramen noodles and add to boiling water. Stir and cook in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain well. Ladle 1-1/2 to 2 cups hot broth into three bowls, add noodles to hot broth and swish noodles with chopsticks in the broth to loosen then. Top with green onion, eggs, optional drizzle of sesame oil and mushrooms, greens, or fish. Eat immediately!
Photos by Jaron Ayres.