Gefilta Fish

This is my basic gefilta fish mix, you can use this as a base for a whole variety of gefilta fish-based dishes. Use the stock below to poach the gefilta fish mix, or to cook bought frozen gefilta fish logs. Use the gefilta fish mix, to make poached quenelles or balls, baked gefilta fish terrine, British fried fish balls, or poach gefilta fish balls in a spicy tomato sauce and serve warm.

Whatever you do, try it, don’t be put off by gefilta fish you have previously tasted, trust me on this homemade gefilta fish taste nothing like the stuff that put you off in the first place.

This recipe makes a lot of gefilta fish, feel free to divide the fish mix recipe in half, but still make the full broth recipe as the gefilta fish needs room to cook in.

Fish Stock:

  • 1 fish head or the bones from 2 fish (ask your fishmonger)(optional)
  • 3 small onions, peeled and cut in half
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut in half
  • ½ tablespoon diamond kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 6-8 cups water

For Gefilta fish mix:

  • 3 medium onions, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • ½ kilo (1 lb) fillet of carp, skin removed, cut into chunks
  • 1 kilo (2 lbs) white fish filets, skin removed, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced dill
  • 1 ½ tablespoons diamond kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ – 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup matza meal
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten

To make the stock:

  1. In a large pot over high heat, combine all the ingredients, making sure that all the ingredients are covered. Bring to a boil, taste to make sure that the salt, sugar, and pepper are balanced and adjust. Once the stock has come to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, until your fish mix is ready.

To make gefilta fish mix:

  1. In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, process the onion and carrots, until very finely chopped – almost pate like, remove the processed onion and carrot mixture to a large bowl.
  2. In the now-empty food processor, with the motor running, feed in the chunks of fish, just a bit at a time, to make sure everything gets chopped, you want the fish to turn into a paste. If your food processor is small you may need to do this in batches. Once all the fish has been processed, add it to the bowl with the carrots and onions.
  3. Add the minced herbs to the fish mix, along with the salt, sugar, pepper, matza meal, and eggs. And using your hands, mix until all the ingredients are well combined.

Assembly for poached Gefilta Fish:

  1. Bring fish stock back to the boil. Using wet hands or two spoons shape the fish mix into quenelles or balls and drop into the boiling liquid, make sure to pause between each addition, to make sure that the gefilta fish ball/quenelles have had a moment to cook before you add the next one, otherwise they will stick together. Once the last fish ball/quenelle has been added, cover and lower the fire to a steady but slow boil and cook for an hour, keeping an eye on the temperature and water level.
  2. Turn off heat and allow the fish and broth to cool for a couple of hours before removing the fish and broth from the pot. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
  3. Gefilta fish stored in its broth in an airtight container in the fridge will keep for 3 – 5 days.
  4. To serve, remove fish from broth and serve with a slice of carrot from the broth.

Assembly for baked Gefilta Fish terrine:

  1. Do not make fish broth.
  2. Proceed with instructions for making gefilta fish mix. Heat oven to 180℃ (350℉). Line 2 medium or 3 small loaf tins with baking paper and grease well. Press the fish mixture into the tin and bake for 1 – 1 ½ hour depending on the size of the tin.
  3. The only way to really test is to cut out a slice and make sure that it is opaque throughout. But chances are that small loaves will be cooked after an hour and larger ones after an hour and a half.
  4. Once completely cooled, wrap well and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before slicing and serving.
  5. Well wrapped, unsliced gefilta fish will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to a month.

Assembly for British Fried Fish Balls:

  1. Do not make fish broth.
  2. Proceed with instructions for making gefilta fish mix. Using wet hands shape the fish mix into 2.5cm (1 inch) balls, roll each fish ball in matzah meal, and set aside.
  3. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat add 1cm (½ inch) of vegetable oil, heat until oil is very hot, and the fish balls, DO NOT CROWD the pan and cook until golden on one side, about 5 minutes, turn over and cook on the second side for a further 5 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel, keep on frying until all the fix mix is done.
  4. Once fish balls have cooled down, place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3-5 days, serve cold.