Shellfish Stock

Basic Recipe 25

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    1¼ litres

Appears in

Season to Taste

By Liam Tomlin

Published 2005

  • About


  • 700g Fresh lobster shells and heads, uncooked
  • 50ml Olive oil
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 Small Bulb fennel, roughly chopped
  • 1 Onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 Stick celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 Small White of leek, roughly chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbls Tomato paste
  • 6 Plum tomatoes, seeds removed and roughly chopped
  • pinch saffron threads
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 2 Strips orange peel
  • 2 pieces Star anise
  • 150ml Noilly Prat
  • 50ml Pernod
  • 25ml Brandy
  • Water or Fish stock
  • 3 large Sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 2 large Sprigs fresh basil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


Clean and chop the lobster shells and heads into small pieces. In a heavy-based saucepan, heat the olive oil, add the shells and gently roast them until they take on a deep red colour. Stir in the vegetables and continue to cook until softened and lightly coloured. Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, a pinch of both saffron threads and cayenne pepper, the orange peel and star anise and cook for 5 minutes. Stir to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with Noilly Prat, Pernod and brandy and allow the alcohol to evaporate. Cover the shells with the fish stock or water and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes. Skim frequently. Pass the stock through a coarse sieve. Press down on the shells with the back of a ladle to extract as much flavour as possible. Season to taste with salt, freshly ground pepper and more cayenne pepper if necessary. Once again, pass the stock through a fine chinois. Allow the stock to cool and add the tarragon and basil to infuse. Pour the stock into a stainless steel container and refrigerate to solidify any fat that may rise to the surface. Remove the fat before using the stock. Pass the stock through a fine chinois when ready to use, and discard the herbs.