Since Passover is this coming weekend, we invited Harry’s Mom (an “Actual Jewish Mother”) to the store to oversee a Gefilte Fish demo, from her sister’s homemade recipe.  While these Eastern European fish balls at best are considered an “Acquired Taste”, why serve the overly fishy, bottled versions (covered in jelly) when you can make your own at home (it’s so much easier than you think).  Most recipes traditionally use carp, but in the interest of taste, Harry’s Aunt uses salmon and halibut.

The finished product, recipe and how you can make your own horseradish (another simple, but amazingly rewarding thing to do), after the jump…

Aunt Barb’s Salmon and Halibut Gefilte Fish

1 lb halibut steaks, skinned and boned (you can substitute thick fleshed fish like Tilapia or Sea Bass)
1/2 lb salmon fillets, skinned and boned (half each kind of fish works, depending on price and availability) 1 1/2 T vegetable oil
2 med Spanish onions, peeled and diced
2 large eggs
3 T matzo meal
1 ½ t salt
1 t ground pepper (white, if possible)
1 T sugar
1-1/2 t lemon juice
1 cup cold water
1 T snipped dill, keep more for garnish
1 large carrot grated

1. Preheat oven to 325. Cut fish into large chunks and pulse about 20 times in a food processor, until ground fine, but not pureed. Place fish in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle blade.

2. Heat oil in a large frying pan and sauté onions until soft and transparent, about 8 minutes over medium-low flame. Let cool.

3. To the fish mixture, add the onions, eggs, cold water, matzo meal, salt and pepper, sugar, lemon juice. Beat on medium speed about 10 minutes. Add the dill and carrot; mix well.

4. Pour mixture into greased 9″ loaf pan/ bundt pan, or any other shape (we prefer a fish shape). Smooth top with spatula and cover with foil. Place loaf pan in a large roasting pan, and place in oven. Fill larger pan with enough hot water to rise about two inches up the loaf pan sides.

5. Bake for 1 hour or until the center is solid. Cool for 10 minutes, or until mold is cool to the touch. Run a knife around the edge. Place flat serving plate or cutting board over the pan, and flip fish onto plate. If the mold doesn’t release, give the plate a shake.

6. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

And of course, serve with fresh horseradish, which is also amazingly easy to make (and much more flavorful than what you buy in the store).

Peel the thick brown outer layer of the horseradish, and grate the white part (you may need to wear protective goggles of some sort, the fumes can make you cry).  You can do it in the food processor if you prefer, but we like the chunky texture of grating it with a fine grater or zester.  Add about 3 tablespoons of vinegar for every cup of grated horseradish, let it sit for a little while- and you’re done!

Thanks to everyone who came to the store for the demo (especially Harry’s Mom, for donating her sister’s recipe, and overseeing the process to insure quality!).  And have a Happy Passover!

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