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Passover In New York (Article)

Cross References:
Main Category:  Fish & Shellfish
Day:  Holidays
Meal:  Dinner
Dishs:  Entrées, Sides
Primary Ingredient:  Fish
Ethnicity:  Jewish


Salmon Gefilte Fish

Print Version

Made With Fresh and Smoked Salmon

I've never heard anyone say they loved gefilte fish.  But then I saw Florence Fabricant's version made with salmon, which reminded me of the pillow-y salmon quenelles I first tasted in France.  Traditional Passover gefilte fish is almost always made with a white fresh water fish like pike or carp.  But using salmon, also a fresh water fish, in place of the paler tasting white fishes, is an inspired way to remain traditional while adding flavor.

While each family's tradition may vary whether there's sugar added and if the fish is served with horseradish, this salmon version could be served slightly warm with little slices of steamed carrots or chilled with a horseradish-tinged mayonnaise.

Serves 8.



1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup Passover matzo cake meal
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium onion, cut into large pieces
1 carrot, peeled, cut into large pieces
2 medium leeks, carefully rinsed of any sand, white part only, cut into large pieces
1 1/4 pounds wild salmon, diced
1/4 pound smoked salmon, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons prepared white horseradish

8 cups fish stock (see recipe below), water, or 7 cups water and 1 cup white wine

  1. Bring the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat, and add the matzo cake meal.  Whisk until smooth.
  2. Return to a medium heat and cook, stirring, for about a minute.  Remove from heat, and beat in the eggs one at a time.
  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, and set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining 1 tablesppoon oil in a skillet.  Add the onion, carrot and leeks, and saute over low heat until tender but not brown.
  5. Place the onion, carrot and leeks in a food processor and pulse until all are cut into very small pieces. 
  6. Add the fresh and smoked salmon and pulse until finely ground but be careful to not overprocess or else you'll liquify everything.  Add the matzo cake meal/egg mixture to the fish, and process until smooth.  It will be paste-like. 
  7. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the lemon juice and horseradish.  Taste a little of the mixture and add salt if needed (the smoked salmon can be salty so taste before adding more salt).
  8. Bring the fish stock, water, or water and wine to a simmer in a large saucepan -- the liquid should be about 2 1/2 inches deep.  Using two tablespoons dipped in water, form the fish mixture into ovals and slip them into the simmering liquid. 
  9. Poach for 20 minutes. Drain on a rack or a sheet pan lined with paper towels. 
  10. Refrigerate until cold.

Making The Fish Stock

3 pounds fish bones and heads
8 cups water
1 large carrot, peeled
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon white or black peppercorns
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

  1. Place the fish bones and heads in a stockpot.  Cover with cold water and bring to a boil.
  2. Boil about 5 minutes, and using a spider or other hand-held sieve or slotted spoon, constantly skim the water of any skum or foam.
  3. After 5 minutes, lower the heat to a simmer.
  4. Add the carrot, onion, bay leaves, and peppercorns.  But not the salt. 
  5. Simmer gently, uncovered, about 1 hour, adding water as needed to keep the ingredients covered.
  6. Strain through a very fine sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth.  Taste and season with salt.

This stock can be made in advance and either frozen or kept chilled in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.


Adapted from a recipe by Florence Fabricant that appeared in The New York Times in 1996.

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