Homemade stock infuses the deepest flavor into paella. In Spain, a classic fish stock—the kind used in shellfish paella—is typically made from a combination of small bony, non-oily soup fish (such as little red mullets), the heads and bones of larger species (such as monkfish or cod), and often a handful of Mediterranean galeras (mantis shrimp) or small crabs, and simple aromatics. This recipe doubles easily if you prefer to make a big batch and store it.

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Caldo de Pescado (Fish Stock) Spanish Fish Stock
Homemade stock infuses the deepest flavor into paella.
Yield: makes 2 QT
Time: 45 minutes


  • 1½–2 lb. small, white-fleshed, non-oily fish such as red mullet, or the heads and bones of larger white-fleshed, non-oily fish, such as cod
  • 1 leek, trimmed, coarsely chopped, and rinsed
  • 1 large tomato, halved
  • 10 black peppercorns Pinch of salt
  • 10 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. In a large pot, place the fish, 8½ cups cold water, the leek, tomato, peppercorns, and salt; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook, occasionally skimming any foam that forms on top, for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley; let the stock rest and cool 15 minutes. Strain and reserve, and discard the solids. (You will have about 8 cups stock.)
  3. Use immediately, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to a few months.