Fish heads, fish heads, roly-poly fish heads.

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Fish skeletons aren’t just food for cartoon alley cats. They’re also great for flavoring soups or making rich fish stock. So the next time you’re filleting a fish, make sure to save the bones—or just ask your fishmonger for a fish head or two—and whip up one of these delicious recipes.

1. Senegalese-Style Seafood Gumbo
This delicious, untraditional gumbo starts with a broth enriched with red snapper heads and bones.

Senegalese-Style Seafood Gumbo

2. Sardinian Seafood Stew
A full two-and-a-half pounds of fish heads and bones goes into the stock for this seafood-packed stew.

3. Steamed Sea Bass with Tamarind Sauce
This tender, healthy fish is served with a sauce made with homemade fish stock and tangy tamarind puree.

Steamed Sea Bass with Tamarind Sauce
Credit: © JOHN KERNICK

4. Classic Fish Stock
You can make this stock and freeze it for up to a month.

5. Steamed Red Snapper Packets
This fish is served with a side of “fish tea”—a broth similar to bouillabaisse.

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6. Fish Curry with Tamarind
Chef Zak Pelaccio likes to throw a fish head or two into this creamy curry.

7. Red Snapper Soup with Fresh Bean Sprouts and Garlic Oil
This refreshing Vietnamese soup starts with a flavorful broth made with fish heads and bones, fish sauce, lemongrass and ginger.

Red Snapper Soup with Fresh Bean Sprouts and Garlic Oil
Credit: © Dana Gallagher