Seafood juice is a popular addition to soups, chowders, glazes, and other often-cooked foods, like risotto and ceviche. It’s a great substitute to keep around if a recipe calls for fish stock, as it can provide a decent amount of flavor. However, some restaurants and bars in the United States love seafood juice so much they serve shots of pure clam juice, especially at the beginning of each meal. Seafood juice is also used in cocktails, like the Low Tide Martini or Bloody Caesar. This kitchen staple is a must-have for the home chef or experimental drinker.
Seafood juice is available to order from most seafood retailers, both online and in person. Unfortunately, mass-produced seafood juice, like their sweeter, more fruit-centric cousins, often have additives and stabilizers, like salt, sugar, and chemicals. If you have an interest in pressing your own juices, a do-it-yourself option might be a more promising option.
Below, we’ve included a simple recipe for clam juice, one of the more popular seafood juices on the market. While it doesn’t involve a juicer, the process doesn’t take much time. If you want to give it a shot, you don’t have much to lose!
- Wash your clams (as many as you would like, but consider getting more than you think you need, about 8 pounds) by scrubbing off any remaining sand. Be on the lookout for dead clams, whose shells will remain slightly open even when handled.
- Pour 2 cups of distilled water into a heavy-duty pot and bring to boil over high heat. Using distilled water means a lower TDS count, or “Total Dissolved Solids,” to start out with, leaving more room to infuse the liquid with clam flavor.
- Add the clams and cook, covered, for 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and stir. As the clams pop open, transfer them to a large bowl. Discard any clams that have not popped open after 20 minutes.
- When cool enough to handle, take each clam from its shell over the bowl of cooking water. Squeeze the clams gently over the water to capture as much broth as possible, then transfer the meat to a small bowl.
- Strain the cooking liquid using a fine sieve. For a more diluted juice, add water to taste.
Making Seafood Stock
Stock is the more common option for a high-flavor seafood meal addition, but it’s just as easy to make. Also known as fish stock, this is a slightly heavier liquid used in common dishes. Usually made from fish bones, heads, mirepoix, or shellfish shells, this is a great ingredient to have in your refrigerator if you like to cook with fish flavors.
Lobster stock is among the most popular types of seafood stock, and it’s surprisingly easy to make. Plus, you can store it for quite a long time. We’ve included a simple recipe below if you’d like to try it at home.
- In a large skillet, heat 1/3 cup of olive oil over medium-high heat. When it begins to simmer, add lobster shells and legs. For added flavor, consider adding onions, garlic, bay leaf, hot pepper, and/or thyme.
- Sauté the mixture, stirring often, for between 6 and 8 minutes.
- Add white wine, around 2 cups, and return the mixture to a simmer.
- Cook for another 5 minutes, then add enough cold water to completely cover the shells.
- Return to a simmer again, then reduce the heat to medium-low for another 30-40 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, then remove from the heat. When the broth is cooled, pour the liquid through a fine strainer. Allow the liquid to cool completely before refrigerating or freezing.
If you don’t live close to the coast, though, you might be wondering how can you make your own lobster or other seafood stock from all natural, wild-caught fish? The seafood industry is a lot bigger than most think, and you can now order seafood online straight from Maine or Alaska, and it will be as fresh as the day it’s caught – usually because it’s shipped out straight from the dock.
Seafood juice and stock is a great addition to any home chef’s refrigerator. If you like to make your own juice, making a seafood liquid requires a similar set of skills and interests – some patients, an interest in health, and a passion for wholesome ingredients.