Friday, I stopped at one of my more ethnic grocery stores to get some fish. Overlooking the selection, I settled on bluefish. They still had two. The one I chose was just over 16 pounds; the other comparably sized.
That's a lot of fish. I asked them to fillet it and also to give me the head.
I got a bag with two fillets and a bag with the head and skeleton hacked into convenient, hand-sized pieces (which meant the head was split and chopped into six+ pieces). Some of those pieces were moderately meaty.
At home, the dog got a couple of treats (the pieces with eyeballs). He was bit tentative when presented with the first piece, but was all over the second one. Nom.
I decided to make some fish stock. I settled on the recipe for "strong fish stock" at Epicurious. That meant another trip to the store to get a few more items. I substituted a couple of stalks from the fennel bulb for some of the celery called for and completely omitted the black pepper at my daughter's request (niger not agreeing with her innards).
I fished out the bones and we proceeded to pick them for a substantial bowl of meat. We ate that for dinner instead of cooking up some of the fillet. It was yummy. I ended up with about five quarts of stock, two of which were immediately frozen.
Saturday, I made fish chowder, using the New England Fish Chowder recipe at Epicurious. I used half turnips and half potatoes. It was solid and yummy fresh off the stove (well, with 30 minutes to contemplate itself and cool down a bit). The remainder got packaged up, mostly in single servings of about a pint each.
One of those was my breakfast, still closer to cold than cool, and it was even better. The flesh was cooked but not overcooked; the liquid was well congealed and goopy.
Yeah, the recipes tell you to use non-oily fish for the stock and for the chowder, but I ended up with something that was not disagreeably fishy. I think that recommendation is a bit wussy, myself...
The biggest hassle was chopping the vegetables for the mirepoix. It got tedious, but I perservered through the celery and carrots. I have thyme growing outside and added a sprig of fresh rosemary to the stock as well. My daughter wondered about adding coriander in lieu of peppercorns, but I didn't feel that adventurous. Maybe another time.
Three pounds of fish went into the chowder; I still have half a dozen pieces of fish vacuum sealed in the freezer for future eating.
I count this experiment as a win.