My wife has a strange variation of the common seafood allergy; rather than being allergic to shellfish, she can only eat shellfish but reacts badly to finfish (trout, salmon, cod, etc.).

I love seafood and would love to make some variations of common fish dishes I love, such as seafood soup. I'm fine with squid, clams, and such, but the poaching stock comes out way too thin. Is there a quality stock alternative from shellfish? I've tried canned clam juice from the grocery store, but the taste isn't as strong as I would like, and it's a lot of money for very little juice. I've considered picking up the dried shrimp from the Asian market and making a paste, although that won't have much clarity. Any suggestions?

  • Welcome to SA! Is your question specifically about how you add more "body" to shellfish stock?
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 20, 2021 at 17:05
  • Clam juice is commonly available in US markets. Some more upscale ones will carry crustacean stock. Oct 20, 2021 at 17:51
  • As a thought -- does it have to be a clear soup? You could make a cioppino, which uses a garlic & tomato broth: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cioppino
    – Joe
    Oct 21, 2021 at 3:30
  • @FuzzyChef I suppose the answer to your question is yes, because, for instance, my seafood pasta recipe starts with a sautee of some nice shellfish (shrimp, scallop, etc.) which naturally render some juice that form the basis of the finishing sauce for the pasta. But I need to add some liquid, water washes everything out, chicken stock is too chickeny, and reducing three to four jars of clam juice costs almost $20. - I don't think the clam juice produce I have is as strong as it should be, so I am looking for alternatives.
    – AdamO
    Oct 21, 2021 at 16:23
  • @AdamO Thanks for clairifying. I was going to suggest dried scallop stock, which is one of my own shortcuts, but that doesn't solve your "body" problem.
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 21, 2021 at 17:26

2 Answers 2


I don’t know if there are commercially available products, but you can always make your own.

My mom would regularly make shrimp stock from the heads and shells of shrimp.

You can use the shells of crabs, lobster, or other crustaceans. I recommend steaming them, remove the meat, then put thr shells into a pot to simmer.

You’ll want to just barely cover the shells with water, so you’re not diluting the stock with too much water. If you want to further concentrate it, I would recommend straining it first, then reducing it.

If you wanted to use dried shrimp, it would probably work just as well. Just don’t make it into a paste, so you can strain them out easily.

  • 1
    Absolutely. Also; if you're using large shells (e.g. crab, lobster) then smashing them up first may help. Oct 25, 2021 at 0:03

Miso / clam puree.

I would start by making stock with miso paste, carrots, shallot and kombu. Also a parsnip because I have some. Miso is fantastic and versatile stuff. Take the carrots etc out of the stock once you make it.

Then I would get out the blender and blend some canned clams. Put them thru the blender then add it to the stock. Canned clams are nothing fancy but they have good flavor in soups and sauce. I have some frozen shrimp that might want to attend that blender party.

You will get a good strong flavor because all the clam meat is in there still. The clams will give a good clammy kick. I would add the blended clams last after you poach your squid or fresh clams so the clam puree doesn't overcook when you use the miso stock to poach your big pieces. A squirt of lemon after cooking will make the thing.

Ok I am going to make that.

  • 1
    An interesting proposal -- but you might want to add the miso towards the end. From watching Japanese cooking shows (mostly "Dining with the Chef"), I've never seen them add the miso while it was still on the heat -- it's stirred in at the last minute.
    – Joe
    Oct 21, 2021 at 3:27
  • 1
    @Joe that's because miso is a cultured food. By heating it too much you kill the active bacteria and eliminate some of the health benefits.
    – Luciano
    Oct 21, 2021 at 9:42

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