Leeza’s Gefilte Fish

    • Prep Time
    • 30 mins
    • Cook Time
    • 3 hrs 30 mins
    • Yield
    • 1 pot

What is gefilte fish? Where did it come from?

Gefilte fish is an Ashkenazi dish made from a mixture of ground fish, such as carp, whitefish or pike, that is typically eaten as an appetizer and served with khren (red horseradish). Mmm, so delicious, I know!

Just kidding. When someone says “gefilte fish,” what typically comes to mind is a slimy, cold, colorless slab.

But with the recipe below, you can transform your poor fish balls into a delicious and surprisingly gorgeous dish, thanks to my Mama, who has done her Jewish motherly duty and shown me how to make gefilte fish from scratch. One day, I too will show my daughter how to make her great-great-grandma’s recipe.

Gefilte fish flavors vary from sweet to savory. Apparently, the way your family prepares gefilte fish is an indicator of whether a Jewish community was Galitzianer (sweet) or Litvak (savory). The boundary separating the Northern from Southern Yiddish homes has even been dubbed “The Gefilte Fish Line.”

In my family we make it savory. I guess that makes us Litvaks. May I also add that our gefilte fish tastes better than any I’ve ever tried? You maybe laughing to yourself, but it’s 100 percent true. For those of you who are lucky enough to read this post and prepare the recipe that comes with it, you will realize just how amazing it is. I’m not bragging. This is the best gefilte fish recipe you will ever come across.

This recipe is from my great-grandma Leeza—who family legend holds was the best cook ever. True story. Having said that, I am beyond upset that I personally did not learn how to make it from her first hand. Luckily my Mom remembers, having watched Leeza make gefilte fish for most of her life.

As a child, I remember this whole process taking hours, from the scaling to the boning. But America has made everyone’s lives so much easier, since the fishmongers now do most of the hard work.

So for the next Jewish holiday, impress all of your guests with this amazing gefilte fish recipe. You will be heaped with praise; I guarantee it!

Rate Recipe

4 Ratings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 15 animal crackers
  • 2 lbs ground white fish, with skin, bones & heads reserved
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup seltzer
  • 4 beets, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 15 whole peppercorns
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Note: Purchase 2 whole fish, one whitefish and 1 pike. Have them scaled, cleaned and ground at the shop, then ask for the skin, heads, bones and tails.

Instructions

  • 1. Sauté onions with olive oil until golden brown.
  • 2. Pulse cooked onion with animal crackers in a food processor until the mixture is the texture of coarse sand.
  • 3. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground fish and onion mixture. Fold in eggs and seltzer, and season with salt and pepper. Mix until evenly incorporated.
  • 4. Coat the bottom of a large pan with oil and heat at medium-high. Mold the fish mixture into 4-inch oblong patties. Wrap each patty in a strip of fish skin and fry each on both sides until outsides are golden brown. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
  • 5. Line a dutch oven with beets, carrots, fish heads, tails and bones. Top with fish patties in as many layers as necessary. Add water, bay leaves and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover, simmering for 3 hours.
  • 6. Cool and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight, until broth has congealed. Serve beets, jellied broth and cold patties with horseradish as an appetizer.

Instructions

  • 1. Sauté onions with olive oil until golden brown.
  • 2. Pulse cooked onion with animal crackers in a food processor until the mixture is the texture of coarse sand.
  • 3. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground fish and onion mixture. Fold in eggs and seltzer, and season with salt and pepper. Mix until evenly incorporated.
  • 4. Coat the bottom of a large pan with oil and heat at medium-high. Mold the fish mixture into 4-inch oblong patties. Wrap each patty in a strip of fish skin and fry each on both sides until outsides are golden brown. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
  • 5. Line a dutch oven with beets, carrots, fish heads, tails and bones. Top with fish patties in as many layers as necessary. Add water, bay leaves and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover, simmering for 3 hours.
  • 6. Cool and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight, until broth has congealed. Serve beets, jellied broth and cold patties with horseradish as an appetizer.

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  • Average Rating

    (3.3 / 5)


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