What makes this gefilte fish unique is slow-cooking the stock separately, from the patties, which require a short cooking time to maintain their juiciness. Another advantage of this recipe is the low amount of “adhesives” – other ingredients that emphasize the taste of the fish. In Eastern Europe they used to use matzah meal to bind their mixture together; on Passover, when it was forbidden to eat cooked matzah, the poor used potatoes and the rich used ground almonds. Here I combined the two techniques: the matzah flour absorbs liquids better, while the almonds give it a special flavor. I recommended to try and find bitter almonds, which add a completely different flavor to any other you will have, and truly makes it the best gefilte fish. Since I tried to reduce the matzah flour to the minimum necessary, it is important to prepare a tiny “test patty” before cooking the entire amount, and make sure it holds. If it falls apart, add a little matzah flour to the mixture. Alternatively, if the pattie is too dry, add a little stock.
Ingredients for Best Gefilte Fish
For the stock:
- fish bones Fish skins and heads left over from the patties
- 5 carrots peeled
- 3 onions peeled and sliced with an x
- 1 leeks white part only
- 1 parsley root
- 1 celery root peeled and cut into quarters
- 8 thyme sprigs (optional)
- 4 tablespoons Sugar
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 6 allspice whole
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 bunch dill
For the patties:
- 2.2 lbs (1 kilogram) carps Clean of scales and skin (about 4.4 lbs or 2 kilograms before cleaning)
- 3 tablespoons matzo meal
- 3 tablespoons almond flour
- 2-3 tablespoons Ground Almonds bitter (if you can't find them, replace with the same amount of almond flour)
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons Sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Salt
Prepare the stock:
1. Place all the stock ingredients, except the parsley and dill, in a large flat pot. Cover with 4 liters of water and bring to a boil on medium heat. Cook for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add parsley and dill and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and drain. Reserve the carrots and one onion, and discard the rest of the vegetables.
Prepare the patties:
2. Grind the carp with the onion and one of the carrots we reserved from the stock. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and adjust seasoning to taste. Add 2/3 cup of the stock (it's important that it's not hot, so the eggs don't coagulate) and stir well. Cool in the fridge for at least an hour.
Cook the patties in the stock:
3. Bring the drained stock to a boil in a large pot over medium heat. Make a small ball from the mixture and drop it into the boiling water. After a few minutes, take it out and check if you need to adjust the seasoning.
4. Form elliptical patties with wet hands and drop into the pot. Cook one layer at a time in a partially covered pot for half an hour. Take out the patties and set aside to cool. Repeat until you have used up the entire mixture.
5. Strain the stock twice into a large container and cool.
6. Cut the carrots into rounds. Place a pattie on each plate, pour a little of the stock over, and dot with a carrot round on top.
Variety: for extra soft patties, grind 1/2 a cooked onion into the mixture.
This recipe is courtesy of “Hashulchan” website.