Seafood stock makes speedy shrimp meatballs

It’s a simple enough proposition to produce a pot of stock.

Immerse any whole poultry carcass, some vegetable trimmings and maybe a few whole spices in water, simmer for a few hours and strain. Or assemble a mess of the less desirable parts, like chicken and turkey wings, poultry necks, even turkey tails, for a stock that starts with raw meat. Similarly, search out oxtails and soup bones sold in many grocers’ butcher sections for deeply flavored, gelatinous stock.

The raw materials for a lesser-known and -used stock, however, are a bit harder to come by. Good fish and shellfish stocks are in a class by themselves. That’s why I’ve been saving up and freezing the bones from center-cut halibut steaks for more than six months. One Ziploc bag of bones will make about two quarts of really good stock, I figure.

It’s why when I sprung for locally caught, live spot prawns over the summer — to the tune of about $60 — I saved all the heads for a pot of sublime seafood stock that has since made three memorable meals of bouillabaisse with assorted other fish and shellfish.

It’s a shame that supply of stock couldn’t stretch even further. Although bouillabaisse is hard to beat, I’d earmark a quart for these Japanese-style meatballs. After using a cache of small (110/130) wild-caught Gulf shrimp in dishes from curry to pasta, from salad to coconut-breaded and broiled, I’m still looking for new ways to incorporate this convenient, quick-cooking protein.

Just like the wonton soup in this blog’s previous post, this dish comes together in minutes with good-quality stock as a key ingredient. I wouldn’t even bother to dirty my food processor because mincing raw shrimp by hand is a cinch.

Tribune News Service photo

Shrimp Meatballs (Ebi Dango)

1 pound shrimp, cleaned and ground or minced fine

2 scallions, trimmed and chopped fine

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce, divided

1 beaten egg

4 cups chicken or fish stock

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 head Chinese (Napa) cabbage, about 1 1/2 pounds, in 1-inch cubes

8 dry mushrooms, reconstituted

In a large bowl, blend together the shrimp, scallions, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce and the egg. In a large pot, season the stock with remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce and the sugar; bring to a boil. Drop spoonfuls of shrimp mixture into stock, and they will cook into dumplings. When they rise to surface, they are done. Add the cabbage and mushrooms. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes, covered, and serve with hot rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from “Japanese Country Cookbook,” by Russ Rudzinski.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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