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Fumet - Fish Stock Made with Bones, Aromatics, and White Wine


DonRocks
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And what I call homemade fish stock is what you call fish fumet, Joe: white-fleshed fish head/bones/skin cooked with aromatic vegetables and herbs, white wine and water. 

Assuming fumet is French (and it sounds like it is), I'm willing to bet it comes from the same root as fumer (to smoke), e.g., saumon fumé = smoked salmon. So I suspect smoking the broth may have something to do with the origins of the word (not necessarily modern usage, but I don't know - I will run and get my Petit Robert if someone wants me to).

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English fumet does indeed derive from French fumet, odor of wine or meat, from fumer, to fume, to smoke. Akin to English perfume. I'm without access to the OED where I am now; this is taken from Webster's 2nd unabridged. There's a separate English word fumet, also spelled fewmet, meaning the dung of deer. We can probably set that to one side.

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My fish fumet is from the Joy of Cooking.  Their difference between fish stock and fish fumet is that the fish heads, frame and vegetables are first sauteed in butter. Then everything else is added.

A serious note here:  I passionately believe that the absolute best stock (fumet or whatever) that one can make is the difference between an exceptional seafood stew/coq au vin/bouef bourgignon, etc.and "merely" a very good one.  I also make Emeril's beef stock which involves cooking down 15 or so quarts of veggies, marrow bones, etc. for 12-15 hours.  Usually around Midnight I end up with a couple of quarts.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/beef-stock-recipe/index.html is the recipe.  But I cook it down for the time mentioned above.  I buy the marrow bones from Whole Foods.

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My fish fumet is from the Joy of Cooking.  Their difference between fish stock and fish fumet is that the fish heads, frame and vegetables are first sauteed in butter. Then everything else is added.

A serious note here:  I passionately believe that the absolute best stock (fumet or whatever) that one can make is the difference between an exceptional seafood stew/coq au vin/bouef bourgignon, etc.and "merely" a very good one.  I also make Emeril's beef stock which involves cooking down 15 or so quarts of veggies, marrow bones, etc. for 12-15 hours.  Usually around Midnight I end up with a couple of quarts.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/beef-stock-recipe/index.html is the recipe.  But I cook it down for the time mentioned above.  I buy the marrow bones from Whole Foods.

This is interesting from food history and language points of view.  I'd imagine that most anyone who knows anything about making homemade soups, stews and stocks would agree that the liquid (broth, stock) is the critical foundation.  Beyond that is the new piece you add here about sauteeing the main stock ingredients in butter before adding the water/wine.  Thinking about that, I wonder how much that matters if the first step for the stew/cioppino itself is to slow carmelize onion in butter and olive oil.  The resultant base to which the tomato, stock and seafood is added already has the richness of butter fortifying the onion and garlic.

As to what the "official" difference (if any) exists between fume de poisson and fish stock, a search using "fume vs fish stock" yields a bunch of wiki returns along with many others that claim they are synonymous. This one, from a chef/foodista board, seems to have grappled with the question in much the same we are here.

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As to what the "official" difference (if any) exists between fume de poisson and fish stock, a search using "fume vs fish stock" yields a bunch of wiki returns along with many others that claim they are synonymous. This one, from a chef/foodista board, seems to have grappled with the question in much the same we are here.

Thanks for posting that, DS. I've always included fish skin, if I had it, because I figured it would add flavor. One chef in that discussion says it makes the stock murky, so I may leave it out in the future. However, I'm not sure that it is worth the time to try to de-skin the fish head, if I have it.
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Assuming fumet is French (and it sounds like it is), I'm willing to bet it comes from the same root as fumer (to smoke), e.g., saumon fumé = smoked salmon. So I suspect smoking the broth may have something to do with the origins of the word (not necessarily modern usage, but I don't know - I will run and get my Petit Robert if someone wants me to).

Didn't you attempt to nail down "poele" based on your command of French (of which I am a great admirer, having done time at the Alliance myself)?  Reminds me a bit of Aristotle trying to reason his way through the effect of gravity on objects of different weight, rather than dropping a sandal and an amphora of (cheap) wine off a balcony somewhere. :P  Logic doesn't necessarily apply -- we are talking about French Chefs, after all.

I wonder, given that discussion and this one, if it's something of a fool's errand to look for a definitive definition of these sorts of things based on etymology, giving the distance that may exist between a cooking technique and the word used to describe it -- "sautee" from "to jump," "montee au beurre" from Last Tango in Paris, etc --  and also the effect of regional dialects, the gazillion modest differences that may of may not be definitive in separating a "stock" from a "fumet" from a "fond" and so on.  Also, cooks, chefs, housewives and TV personalities tend to latch on to whatever word is at hand when trying to describe a new technique or dish.  It is a rare French menu these days that does not bastardize some traditional name or another in the description of a contemporary dish.  Your old pal Janet and I used to sell "navarin" (traditionally a rustic peasant stew) of lobster as part of a hundred dollar (1984 dollars) tasting menu.

On the other hand, you do get some interesting discussions.  As long as we don't get too serious about the definition (we'll save that for "price point" and "source").

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