Not being Jewish, I’ve only ever seen gefilte fish in the store, jars and jars of it around Easter time, suspended in a gelatinous broth and often looking grey. For me, grey is just not a color that food should be though I’ve eaten and even enjoyed it. For me it has been more about being a vehicle for the horseradish; I love that hot stuff.
I remember my folks and I would sit around eating pork hocks with horseradish. My mother would be getting ready to make headcheese and we would sit and eat the tender meat loaded with horseradish and mustard before she could get it prepared. I remember the disappointment when the horseradish didn’t seek straight into your nasal cavity and make your eyes water. I digress… maybe I’ll post that recipe one of these days too, but for now, it is gefilte fish!
I searched the internet for a recipe to get the gist and with a little of my own love thrown in made these. Passover was the first time I’ve made this and it was a little salty for our tastes so I’m adjusting the salt level by half. You can certainly taste them before you start cooking them, something I lean away from with raw fish, or even cook one first and add salt as you like.
- 1 litre of fish stock (or vegetable or chicken stock)
- 1 litre of water
- 3 large yellow onion
- 6 lbs of white fish (I used Cod and Sole)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 (or more) tablespoons matzo meal
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- juice and zest of one lemon
- 1 large carrot (plus more for garnish)
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 bunch fresh dill (some in the mixture some for stock and garnish)
Unless you have whole fish and can use the heads and skin to add to the broth, make a broth using chicken or vegetable stock, whole onion, carrots, celery and dill. Bring to a boil then simmer until the vegetables are soft, adding water to compensate for the evaporated liquid, strain and reserve.
To get the fish ready, coarsely chop the onion and fish and then pulse in a food processor until almost smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in salt, matzo meal, eggs, lemon juice, zest, carrot, celery and dill. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Bring the stock back to a boil, form the fish mixture into oval patties and gently add into simmering stock. Simmer until fish is opaque at the centre (10 – 20 minutes depending on the size) and remove gently with a slotted spoon. Arrange on single layer, strain the broth and pour over the fish. Cover and refrigerate overnight or until ready to use.
Garnish with carrots, a sprig of dill and serve cold with horseradish.