Not Your Bubby's Gefilte Fish!

>> Jan 18, 2010

I often wonder why Ashkenazi (Eastern European Jewish) culinary classics are so monochromatic. Think about it, gefilte fish, chopped liver, herring, chulent; not exactly bursts of color. My husband (the historian) told me that spices were very expensive and hard to obtain in many European countries. The spice route ran through India and the Middle East, hence their foods took on a more flavorful and vibrant taste and look than those from Eastern Europe. In the upscale foodie world of the 21st century these old world classics may not be visually gorgeous, but their taste, texture, and flavor are satisfyingly delicious and carry with them a history as rich as these dishes.
The truth is my Bubby’s idea of gefilte fish was opening a jar of Manischewitz (always in the liquid broth never in the jelly). Growing up we did eat gefilte fish, but it was not just any gefilte fish, it was my Mother's southern (she’s from the Virginia) take on what she felt gefilte fish should be. I have taken my Mom’s gefilte fish brainchild, made some changes, and I present you with a fresh face and a delicious crunch on an old world “southern“ classic. B’teavon!

Crunchy Gefilte Fish Fritters
1 medium onion
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp sugar (or 3 packets splenda)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried rosemary)
1 frozen loaf gefilte fish uncooked
2 eggs beaten
¾ cup cornmeal
¾ cup cornflake crumbs
Slice the onion into ¼ inch thick semicircles. Coat the bottom of a soup pot with 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the onions, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and sauté for 3-5 minutes on a medium flame until the onions become translucent. Add 5 inches of water to the pot and bring to a boil (in my soup pot that is 12- 8 oz cups of water. The water should mostly cover the gefilte fish.) Once the water is boiling add the rosemary and sugar. Remove outer wrapper and tray, place frozen fish with inner wrapper (the wax paper it is wrapped in) into boiling water, bring back to boil (when you add the frozen gefilte fish it will cool down the water so let it return to a boil. Once the water has boiled reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Remove fish carefully from water, discard paper wrapper and drain. Let cool. Slice cooled gefilte fish into 1/3 inch thick slices. Mix cornflake crumbs and cornmeal together in a shallow container. Dredge gefilte fish slices in egg mixture, then coat completely with cornmeal/cornflake crumb mixture. In a large frying pan containing hot oil which should be ¼ inch deep, for two minutes on each side lightly fry each piece of breaded gefilte fish. Remove from pan and put on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. For best flavor serve warm with a dollop of my special tartar sauce.
My Special Tartar Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise (I use low fat)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (you can substitute with dill or coriander)
1 kosher dill pickle finely chopped.
1 tbsp lemon juice
Mix all ingredients together. Serve with Crunchy Gefilte Fritters.





Did You Know?
• The word Gefilte comes from German (angefüllt) and it means “stuffed” or “filled.”
• Traditionally, Gefilte fish was boiled and removed from the bone and mixed with eggs, onions, bread crumbs and spices as a way of preserving it
• Because Gefilte fish is deboned, it also satisfies the Jewish law that prohibits the removing of bones from fish on Shabbos
• Gefilte fish’s origin was in poor villages in Eastern Europe and was a way to feed a lot of people by stretching out a little bit of fish.
• This is a Pesach friendly recipe- use matzo meal instead of the cornmeal and cornflake crumbs.

• Once you finish boiling the gefilte fish you will have a fabulous fish stock. If you freeze the stock in ice cube trays, you can pop them into plastic bags and use as much or as little as you want at any time.


General Fish Preparation & Storage Safety
• If fish will be used within two days after purchase, store it in the refrigerator. If fish won't be used within two days after purchase, wrap it and store it in the freezer.
• If you have cooked fish that are not going to be eaten within 2 or 3 days, you can freeze them for extended storage. Place the cooked fish in a shallow covered container or Ziploc to allow the fish to freeze quickly. Cooked fish can be stored in the freezer for up to one month.
• Freezing fresh (raw) fish in a block of ice such as fish steaks and fillets protects the fish from being exposed to any air because the air cannot penetrate through the ice. This guards the fish against freezer burn. Place fish in a Ziploc bag and cover with water, close and freeze. This method requires more room in the freezer for storage and is a little more work when it comes to thawing the fish. I do this and my fish tastes as fresh out of the freezer as the day I bought it.

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Keep It Kosher, Creative, Classy…And Always Delicious. B’Teavon

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