Fish Head Stew

This fish head stew turned out to be quite good. I made the stock in the Instant Pot, but cooked the stew on the stove top. The consistency of the stew is intended to be like a very soft porridge – spoon-feeding consistency for a toddler.

  • Two King Salmon fish heads and trim
  • 1 cup millet
  • 2/3 cup frozen green peas
  • 2/3 tbsp salt
  • pepper to taste

Put the salmon trim in the Instant Pot with 6 cups water and salt. Cook on High pressure for 20 minutes (this could probably have been way less – I’ll try 10 minutes next time).

When the stock is done, transfer the liquid to a pot on the stove, bring to a boil, and add a cup of millet. Let the millet simmer for about 20-30 minutes. While the millet is cooking, work with the fish heads over a colander to extract the salmon flesh and remove the bones. There will be a lot of tedious little bones.

Add the salmon flesh and any stock that dripped through the colandar to the stew. When the salmon bits are hot, add the frozen green peas. Stir and remove from heat.

When we served the stew to Nora, we also added some leftover baked salmon we had in the refrigerator. This was a tasty addition, but not strictly necessary.



All online smelt recipes seem to involve breading or deep-frying the smelt, which is fine as a treat but not if I want to make it a quick, easy staple. So I decided to try pan-frying it, and it was delicious.

I fried some chopped garlic and chili pepper in olive oil, added the smelt, and covered the pan for a few minutes. Then I flipped the fish, added scallions, and covered the pan again. It was done very quickly, and the entire fish is edible (bones, scales, and head). I liked it but Nora didn’t, probably because of the chili pepper and because the bones and scales are still a little tough. So I’ll try the smelt in fish stew next time.