When you taste a deeply flavorful seafood broth and there's a taste you just can't put your finger on, it usually comes from the heads and bodies of shrimp, lobster or crab.
In this seafood broth, shrimp heads impart body and depth. Tomato paste brings a sweet, caramelized flavor, while orange add a kick of acid and that bright citrus sweetness that goes so well with shellfish. Fennel seed and coriander seed add spice and the briny cooking liquid from the mussels further brings out the flavor of the shrimp.
- Who wants the funk? It’s important to caramelize the shrimp heads. The innards of the heads will impart a funky aroma to the broth unless they are cooked through.
- Tomato paste tip. Be sure to stir your tomato paste into the hot pan until it’s cooked down and begins to brown. This will fully develop the tomato paste’s caramelization and enhance the flavor of the dish.
- The key to big flavor. To bring out the flavors of each ingredient, taste and add salt lightly and consistently as you prepare the salt. At the end, add more salt, pepper or even orange juice until the broth tastes balanced and delicious.
These tools are the ones we find especially helpful when making this dish.
- Pastry brush – Brush down the sides of the pan while the broth is cooking to prevent splatters from burning and altering the taste of the broth.
The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.
Plate with paper towel
Strainer over pot or bowl
Small sauté pan
For shrimp broth:
- 3 tablespoons oil
- Tails and shells from 1 pound shrimp
- 1/2 onion, 1” dice
- 1 carrot, 1” dice
- 1 large stalk celery, 1” dice
- ½ head fennel, 1” dice
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 large Fresno pepper (or red jalapeño), seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed
- 3 slices orange peel
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups clam juice
- 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
- Mussel cooking liquid
Total Time: 2 hours
Active Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Wash mussels with cold water and discard any that are open.
- Heat a small sauté pan over low heat, add the mussels and white wine and cover with a lid. Steam for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the mussels open. If all of them open except a few, discard the ones that remain closed. Remove mussels from pan and place on plate to cool. Reserve the mussel cooking liquid for the shrimp broth.
- When the mussels are cool, remove meats and save them for the aïoli. Discard shells.
For shrimp broth:
- Place oil in large pot and set over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp shells and heads, onion, carrot, celery, fennel, garlic, Fresno peppers, fennel and coriander seeds and sweat until the vegetables are translucent and the shells are bright pink, stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Add tomato paste, orange peel, fennel and coriander seeds and continue stirring until tomato paste is worked into vegetables and starts to brown.
- Add clam juice, chopped tomatoes and mussel broth. Let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Strain, reserving broth.