Prep 1 hr
Cook 3 hrs
I have always wanted to make delicious "Old Style" Gefilte Fish like my Grandma Else and Aunt Bessie used to made. So have tried making Gefilte Fish several times, however, without much success. Finally on my fourth try, I have come very close to their "Secret Recipe". I say "Secret Recipe" because it was not written down and I was not around the kitchen when it was make; because I was more interested in playing stickball outside. Also, many people said it is a lost tradition and they have given up trying to make it. There must be over 100 recipes (in books and on the Internet) and each recipe varies accordingly. That is, depending on their family's country of origin, the country they now live in or people have just created a recipe to their own liking. My grandparents came from Minsk, Russia & Warsaw, Poland and this regions' Gefilte Fish tends to be 'not sweet' in taste. Finally our family was originally from The Bronx/Brooklyn, New York (New York City). We would spend many wonderful summers at bungalow colonies in the Catskill Mountains aka "The Borsch Belt" or "Jewish Alps" (from 1950-1960) which also might have influenced my family's cooking. I still remember as a child eating my grandmother's Gefilte Fish and her Yiddish words, "Ess Tot-ta-la, Ess"!
- 2 lbs fresh white fish (meat and bones)
- 2 lbs fresh fish, Yellow Pike (meat and bones)
- 1 lb fresh carp (steak cut)
- 1 lb fresh cod (steak cut)
- 2 quarts water (good quality)
- 1 cup cold water
- 16 ounces baby carrots (or 3 large carrots scraped and cleaned)
- 3 onions (medium size, including the brown outer skin layers)
- 2 celery ribs (cleaned)
- 4 teaspoons salt (kosher salt)
- 3 teaspoons sugar (white sugar)
- 2 teaspoons pepper (black pepper)
- 3 large eggs (or 4 medium size eggs)
- 5 tablespoons matzo meal
- 2 ounces parsley (as garnish)
- Have the fish store person fillet the fish and save the head, bones and skin for the fish stock. Remove the skin and bones from the fish steaks as well and save; Also, remove any small bones which might still be embedded in the meat (use a small pair of pliers); Prepare "Prep #1" first and then follow cooking Instructions #10 & #11; After the fish stock is simmering on the stove top do preparation "Prep #2 to #6" as noted below.
- Prep #1) FISH STOCK - If using whole carrots, cut 1 carrot up into small pieces (if not you will be using the baby carrots); Cut 1 of the celery stalks into small pieces; Use 2 of the onions and remove the first brown dirty skin layer and discard; Cut up these onions into smaller pieces and with the brown skin layer (add a few more brown skins from other onions).
- Prep #2) FISH MIXTURE - Cut all the fish meat up into small pieces and then chop finely or grind coarsely in a food processor. Grade coarsely; 5 oz baby carrots (or 1 whole carrot), 1 onion (with the skin removed) and 1 celery stalk.
- Prep #3) FISH PATTIES - Add into a very large bowl the coarsely ground Fish Mixture (meat and vegetables); Add 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon pepper; Make a well in the center and add the eggs and matzo meal; Next mix thoroughly all the ingredients and at the same time try to retain some of the coarseness of the fish, don't mash it up to much(tiny chunks of fish is all right in the finished fish patty).
- Prep #4) Slice lengthwise in half 5 oz of the baby carrots and set aside, which will be added during the last half hour of cooking (or cut up into thin rounds the third carrot).
- Prep #5) FISH PATTY FORMING (prepare after stock is filtered thru a sieve and simmering on the stove top) - Moisten your hands in some cold water and form the fish patties into oval shapes about 3 inches long; Place the patties on one or two big plate; You should be able to make about 20-22 patties (which will be placed into the simmering fish stock).
- Prep #6) Wash the parsley and set aside.
- COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:.
- FISH STOCK - Add 2 quarts of water to a very large pot; Add the reserved/saved fish head, bones and skin; Add 5 oz of baby carrots (or 1 carrot cut up), 1 cut up celery stalk and 2 cut up onions and skins; Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon pepper.
- Bring the stock to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Remove all scum which rises to the top and discard; Let simmer on low heat for about 45 to 60 minutes, uncovered.
- Next pour/filter the fish stock through a sieve and retain the stock. Discard the bones, skins and vegetables. Then place the retained stock back into the pot and bring to a low simmer once again.
- Place each Fish Patty one-by-one into the pot, making sure the patties do not break up. Retain a low simmer and shake the pot to prevent the patties from sticking to each other (use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula as needed); Cover and cook for 1 hour on a low heat; Occasionally check to remove scum and turn some of the top patties over as may be required.
- Next remove the cover, add 5 oz of the baby carrots (or 1 carrot cut up into thin rounds); Turn a few patties on the top to keep them moist and under the liquid, remove scum and spoon some liquid over patties as needed; Cook for another 1/2 hours.
- Again, making sure you do not break up the patties.
- Remove the patties and carrots with a slotted spoon and place on a serving plate or in an aluminum foil pan; Place one carrot on top of each fish patty.
- Next pour/filter the fish stock through a sieve and retain the stock. Discard any by-products. Return the stock to the stove top and on medium heat reduce to about 2 cups of stock. Pour some of the stock over the fish in the plate or pan and cover using plastic wrap. Pour some extra stock into a plastic container and with a cover.
- Place the Gefilte Fish and extra stock in the refrigerator to cool for several hour or more.
- Serve the Gefilte Fish at room temperature on individual plates; Garnish each plate with a little parsley and some of the jelled fish stock on the side of the patty.
- Serve with red and white horseradish, enjoy --.
- A) Check out my Aunt Zelma's Gefilte Fish which uses salmon and tastes sweet, by going to the following url;.
- Gefilte Fish by Eileen Mintz, at.
- http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Gefilte-Fish/Detail.aspx .
- B) Here are some more photos showing step-by-step how Gefilte Fish is made --.
- http://www.zenreich.com/ZenWeb/gefilte.htm .
- May 2010; I made a variation on this recipe, Salmon-Tilapia Gefilte Fish (see photos) -- You can easily modify this recipe accordingly by using Salmon and Tilapia fish.