I'm afraid not many of us do any more gefilte fish. Maybe it will make a comeback several years from now. Until then, do like most of us do: buy it or just have grilled salmon as a first course. I do miss my mother's gefilte, but she's too old now to prepare it.
Happy Passover, Happy Eastern
Ironically, I've found a promising recipe on Martha Stewart's site. ("martha's gefilte fish": oxymoron?) I guess I'll give it a try. (Will go to the kosher fishmonger and have him grind the fish for me, I think. He'll be sure to have pike and whitefish.) It's really just fish quenelles, made with matzoh meal.
Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 8:57 am Post subject: Gefilte fish SAFETY WARNING
Claudia Roden has a spicy version (Egyptian or Tunisian) in tomato sauce, and a friend's mother made the best I ever had--it was a Roumanian verson, with a strongly herb-and-garlic-flavored fish paste patted into a casserole/baking pan and baked until done, then cut in squares and served hot. No gel, no jar, no gross memories. You can use a food processor to grind the fillets with the other ingredients.
Whatever you do, DON'T TASTE THE RAW MIXTURE TO CORRECT SEASONINGS, and make sure your fish cooks all the way through. Modern cooks who've gone back to making gefilte fish from scratch (i.e., not out of the Manischewitz or Rokeach jars...Streit's? Do I hear a vote for Streit's?) have been raised eating sushi, and they forget that freshwater fish carry a strong risk of intestinal parasites like tapeworm. There have been a number of cases in recent years, and every Passover the major newspapers carry at least one gruesome story of "Jewish Housewives' Disease Returns". Cooking destroys the parasite eggs, but if you taste the raw mixture, you could end up extremely ill and need filarial medicines for months. If you must taste, cook a spoonful of the mixture all the way through either in boiling water or your microwave, get a clean spoon or fork to eat it with, and wash all your raw-fish utensils, plates, food processor, etc. and your hands well.
Wow. That's one frightening and disgusting response! I'll have to investigate this aspect. I cook the trout my fella occasionally brings home from fishing expeditions, but those occasions are rare but (as far as I know!) been without gastro-intestinal mishap. I guess we eat his salt water catches much more often, since he typically throws back the fresh water catch.
I'm amused by the term "Jewish housewives' disease", which doesn't immediately suggest tapeworm! I might try the phrase out on some friends and see what does come to their minds. (I predict it will involve guilt rather than parasites.)
Anyway, thanks for the caution! The warm gefilte fish squares do not sound appealing, but the Roden recipe does. I'll keep researching.
Joined: 29 Oct 2006 Posts: 218 Location: Heaven, actually.
Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:23 am Post subject:
When I was a kid, I read a book entitiled "There's A Carp In My Bathtub". You guessed it, little girl comes home and finds said fish, is told to feed fish (to fatten it up), makes friends with fish....and the rest is childhood agony through the eyes of a gradeschooler.
Suzy, Sephardic is good, but sephardic means rice, and many other items which we ashkenazy don't eat for pesach. So don't give up, maybe there is a jewish delicatessen shop somewhere where you can buy home made gefilte fish. I'm sure too that with a good recipe you'll succeed your unique gefilte fish which your mom will certainly appreciate.
Good luck and a kosher pesach ,
No more war, mpre gefilte fich ( no sugar added, pleeeese...)
I took over the whole holiday dinner thing years ago. (All the holidays.) I mostly like doing it, though sometimes it feels like a chore when I have a lot going on at work, which is usually the case these days. But I have yet to regret the effort.
Thanks for all the responses! I look forward to hearing the suggestions people have for Jen about matzoh balls. (The fanciest I get with them is some fresh dill. Always a hit.)
Joined: 13 Nov 2004 Posts: 899 Location: Gold Coast Australia
Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:02 am Post subject:
I received this from a Jewish friend in the US. I hope it isn't politically incorrect and offensive. I don't think I've ever eaten Gefilte fish.
Subject: Gefilte Fish
Many times I have been upset by people who seem to think that gefilte fish is some kind of mixture you make in the kitchen rather than one of the Lord's creatures.
This has led me to explain exactly what a gefilte fish is. So here goes:
Each year as soon as the frost on the Great Gefilte Lakes (located upstate New York somewhere in the Catskill Mountains) is thin enough to break the
surface, Frum (observant) fishermen set out to "catch" gefilte fish.
Now unlike your normal fish, gefilte fish cannot be caught with a rod and a reel or your standard bait. The art of catching gefilte fish was handed down
for hundreds, maybe thousands, of years.
For all I know Moses used to go gefilte fish catching. I'm sure that the Great Rambam (Maimonides), when he wasn't busy playing doctor, spent his leisure time Gefilte fishing.
Enough already, you say, so how is it done? Well you go up to the edge of the lake with some Matzo. Now this is very important!! It has to be Manischewitz Matzo or the fish will not be attracted.
You stand at the edge of the lake and whistle and say, "Here boy!" "Here boy!" The fish just can't
resist the smell of the Matzo. They come together to the edge of the lake where they jump into the jars and are bottled on the spot.
You must remember that there are two kinds of gefilte fish. The strong and the weak. The weak are your standard fish which are in a loose "broth" (it
is actually the lake water). Now the strong are special. They seem to be in a "jell." These fish are actually imported from the Middle East where they
are caught in the Dead Sea. They have to be strong to be able to swim through that "jell."
Last year, a well meaning gentleman tried to correct me by stating, "Shouldn't they be saying 'Here Boychick!?'" I didn't have the heart to tell him that Boychick is a Yiddish word and Gefilte Fish don't understand Yiddish --only Hebrew and surprisingly, English! There has been a big debate as to whether to use the Hebrew or English in the US.
With a big break from tradition, shockingly the English is accepted by almost all Gefiltefishermen. Some still insist on using the Hebrew and consider the use of "Here Boy" as Reform and not acceptable. However the Congress of OU Rabbis (who have to be present at the lakes when the fish are bottled) uniformly accept "Here boy!"
The time of the catch is very important! The fish cannot be caught before Purim is over or the fish are considered Chumetz! Besides, the fish know when Pesach is coming, and will not respond to the Matzo before the proper time.
I am still a little bothered by which end of the fish is the head and which the tail (not to mention that I am not sure where their eyes are). This is a small price to pay for the luxury of eating this delicacy. Have you ever had the baby Gefilte Fish? Oy, they are so cute that I feel a little guilty eating them!
I hope that the matzo doesn't affect you like Pepto Bismol or worse yet, prunes. For the Pepto crowd there is some relief..., there is a new product available in the stores this year called Metamucil Matzo...The box has the logo:
"LET MY PEOPLE GO!"
Very funny Barbara! And why should you think it might be politically incorrect? It's gefilte fish we are laughing about, not the 10 commandments!!!
But you should try Gefilte fish, which is a kind of quenelle, or actually a cooked fishmeat ball , only heavier and sometimes sweeter.
But I do have to correct you on something: There is no sush a saying as -
A Zissen Pesach ( A sweet Pesach? what's sweet about having to eat Matzoz for 8 days???) , You just say: Have A kosher Pesach, because Kosher for Pesach is even more strict the the usual Kosher law. Not that I keep kosher!! ( either the regular of the Pesach version).
Here , in Israel, people are getting crazy as the Seder gets closer, and this year it's on Shabbat evening, which complicates even more the kashrut issue. The religious can't work on Saturday, so everything has to be ready on friday, but you have to still eat non Kosher for Pesach on Saturday morning, but you are not allowed to eat Matzos before Saturday evening, but you are also not allowed to clean dishes on Saturday - so I really have no clue how they manage, but they do - the Rabbies tell them what to do. We are invited to our religious side of the family and we have to arrive not before 6.50 p.m. ( they don't want us to drive on shabbat though we are not religious - but not after 7.15 p.m. because that's the time the Pesach holiday begins ( and you are not allowed to drive either).
Finally we agreed that as we have to get back by car, we will be sinners, but still try to arrive in the given 25 minute time span. Too complicated for atheists like me.
A kosher pesach !!
Joined: 13 Nov 2004 Posts: 899 Location: Gold Coast Australia
Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:24 am Post subject:
Simona I thought it might not be PC because I don't know the culture or religion. Added to the fact it was send to me by a Jewish friend who has a funny sense of humor and I never quite know when he is joking or not. I just though it might add to the geflite fish debate. _________________ Barbara
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