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How to use up fish heads

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Think twice before throwing out those flavoursome fish heads. Here are five tasty ways to use up fish heads, from fish soup to curry.

Food prices are on the up, the sound of belts tightening and wallets creaking shut can be heard the length and breadth of Britain. Beyond getting an allotment, going on a diet or learning to forage, asking your fishmonger for fish heads is one economy that's easy to make and tasty to eat.


More often than not fish heads hit the bin, not the plate. I grab a couple of conger eel or cod heads at my local market every week. My regular fishmonger uses them for display purposes. She has no intention of selling them and so, she's happy to palm them off on me. Which is no bad thing when it comes to action in the skullery department.

If it's fishy economies of scale you're after, here are five great ways with fish heads from the food blogs and beyond. None of which will bust the bank, or the gut. South Asia has fish heads licked.

Soup with mussels

Fish heads are a delicacy from India, through Singapore to the Philippines. And it's the Asian cookbook you'll need to drag out if you want to get some monstrously good fish head dishes together. A couple of salmon heads, an aubergine and some okra are about all you need to bash together Malaysian fish head curry.

Head south to Kerala in India for another spicy take on fish heads. Mallika at the excellent Quick Indian Cooking has a great rendition. She goes the whole fish route, but you don't have to.

Further east, the ever popular Pinoy Cook, a blog by home cook Connie Veneracion, takes a salmon head and wrestles it into a Filipino feast. A little closer to home, the French know a thing or two about fish soup and fish heads have enough flavour to fashion a decent French fish soup, if not a full on bouillabaisse.

Meanwhile, in South Africa you'll find a relatively simple vis kop sop a snip to rustle up. Fish heads can be a wee bit tricky to nibble on. However, as Robyn at the Eating Asia blog says, it's not all bone picking in there, especially if you get plenty of meat on your fishes head, 'we're not at all averse to fish head, but aren't quite the bone pickers that our Malaysian friends are. Yet we find more than enough meat on these bones - even without resorting to sucking - to satisfy.'


Would you tuck into thrifty fish heads? Got any great recipes for them? Leave a comment below...


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