Bubby Irma’s Gefilte Fish
1 large onion
1/2 cup water
1 raw egg
1/2 cup matzo meal
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1 kilo fresh ground fish — either carp or a mixture of carp, white fish and/or pike. The fishes can be mixed. Nile perch is a new addition to our list of fishes. Nile perch is used alone.
Grind together all the Ingredients, and then mix in the ground fish. At this point the fish may be formed into logs — approx 3″ wide and 12″ long – wrapped tightly into tin foil for freezing. Frozen fish may be cooked in the log form. It is easy to slice for individual servings. Or, ovals about the size of a pear can be formed. Drop them into boiling sauce and allow them to cook slowly for 2 hours. Let cool before removing the fish balls from the sauce.
Cooking Sauce for Gefilte Fish
4 cups water
1 Tbsp salt & 1 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp sugar
fish bones and heads
Bring to a boil and add the fish balls or logs.
Serve with Horseradish on a bed of lettuce. A slice of the cooked carrot adds color to the dish.
Making gefilte fish is a challenge. My mother made it — my grandmother made it –and I had to make it. In order to become a real Balabusta (woman of the house) I had to prove myself in the kitchen. Challah, chicken soup, and gefilte fish had to be made. Once they were tried and successful – you knew that you were on the way to becoming a Balabusta. The first time I made it — I was so proud. But, like every child, I needed my parents approval. At that time we were living in Worcester, MA and my parents lived in Camden, NJ. I decided to do what my sister Helen did — she had lilacs in her garden and it was one of my mothers favorite flowers. Each year she took the first cuttings and wrapped them well and sent them from Washington, DC to my mother who lived in New Jersey.
I carefully wrapped a jar of the freshly made delicacy and sent it out Air Mail, Special Delivery. (This was before overnight delivery service.) A few days later I received a call from Mom and Dad telling me how great the fish was. I was thrilled. Years later they finally told me the truth … it arrived spoiled but they didn’t want to hurt my feelings. I made another batch while they were visiting and got their full approval.
From “Adventures in Bubby Irma’s Kitchen” (Targum Press)
“Sweet Gefilte Fish”
1 lb. (500 gm.) ground fish, or 2 lbs. (1 kg.) whole fish (carp, silver carp, or whitefish, and pike)
1/2 cup matzah meal
black pepper to taste
4 Tbsp. salt
6 Tbsp. sugar
Slice 2 onions. Saute a small amount of oil in frying pan over a small flame, until soft and translucent, but not brown. If using whole fish, clean and grind fish. Grind the fried onions. Mix fish well with the onions. Add matzah meal, eggs, 3 Tbsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. salt, and black pepper. Let set 15 minutes. Fill a medium-sized pot halfway with water. Add sliced carrot, 1 sliced onion, 2 Tbsp. salt, 3 Tbsp. sugar, and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Make fish balls with wet hands, place the balls into the simmering stock. Cook for 3/4 hour. When it has cooled, pour the sauce into a jar and refrigerate until it jells. Use the gel as garnish. Serves 15.
Variation: Spicy Baked Gefilte Fish: Combine 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 cup water, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over cooked gefilte fish pieces. Bake 1/2 hour at 350 degrees F. (175 degrees C.)
“Claire’s Food-Processor Gefilte Fish”
2 medium onions
6 Tbsp. cold water
1 large carrot
1 1/4 tsp. salt (or less)
1 1/2 pounds ground fish
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 tsp. sugar (or less)
This is a fast and easy recipe where the fish is baked instead of boiled, avoiding that “fishy” smell.
Grate onions and carrot in food processor until well mixed, approximately 10 seconds. Add fish (a mixture of white and pike is nice — fast and easy if you buy it already ground at your local fish store — stores catering to a Jewish clientele will have it on hand Wednesday to Friday), and process 20 seconds. Then add and process the rest of the ingredients for 15 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Pour into oiled pan (8″ x 11″), and bake at 325 degrees F. (165 degrees C.) for 1 1/4 hours, covering with foil for the last 1/2 hour to avoid its drying out. When done, it should be slightly brown, and a knife inserted in the middle should come out clean. When cool, cut into rectangular pieces and serve cold
Garnish gefilte fish with sprigs of parsley, place on a bed of lettuce, or add some cherry tomatoes on the plate for color. Instead of just horseradish, try filling a 3-compartment pickle dish with red horseradish, white horseradish, and some spicy mayonnaise (recipe to follow).
regular or light mayonnaise
Add all spices to mayonnaise and stir until well blended. Serve cold with fish.
Recipes from “Taste of Shabbos: The Complete Cookbook” – by the Aish HaTorah Women’s Organization.
Aish HaTorah Women’s Organization
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