I'm even thinking of showing up at my local seafood restaurant and volunteering for some bussing duty.
I'll only clear the tables that ordered shellfish, though. Lobsters. Shrimp. Crawdads, if they got 'em.
My secret is that I will be carrying a bag inside my busboy jacket to dump the shells into.
The rest of the leavings, I'll just crash into that plastic garbage bin they all use. Yeah, I'll be good at this. Do we share tips at this place, 'cause I'm awesome!
Until they run me out for strange behavior.
But IT'S NOT STRANGE.
I quiver to think how many crustacean shells I've tossed into the trash just because I'm stupid and didn't think of this: Crustacean shells make insane stock.
Not stock, exactly, because you don't want to cook it much longer than a half-hour, and there's no gelatin.
But the flavor extraction is rich, and quick!
This was Cranky's version: a batch of "used" shrimp shells simmered gently with some fennel fronds, minced onion and empty English pea pods. Herbs. Salt.
This is a very special recipe, so remember it: shrimp shells, fennel fronds and pea pods. Complete innovation. Until somebody tells me it's very common; that everybody knows this already. (Please, no.)
The pea pods were a special whim. Oh: rich, green flavor. Fresh. Springlike. Good Cranky, good boy.
The problem with the final execution of our meal (and I blame myself for this part of the idea) is that greenish stock makes stracciatella look dingy and icky.
It wasn't a genuine stracciatella; we added tiny pasta strings for nutritional bulk.
I'll tell you what, though. A colorblind person would have loved it. I ate mine with my eyes closed; it was that good.