Last year I made gefilte fish for the first time ever. I used a very traditional recipe and simmered the patties in fish broth and yes, it was delicious. But it was also pretty labour-intensive and stunk up the house for two days. I was reluctant to do it again. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with the normal smell of cooked fish but there is something entirely different about the odour of gefilte fish cooking - like a carp had died under the sink two weeks ago and nobody bothered to get rid of the corpse.
So this year I was going to buy one of those prepared frozen loaves that you cook yourself. But a friend told me about her recipe which she swore was fantastic. I took a chance. She was right. It is not only fantastic, but ridiculously easy. I will never - NEVER - boil another gefilte fish patty. This is the best. So I'm sharing.
Cindy's Baked Gefilte Fish
1 large onion
3 carrots (two for mixture, one for garnish – you’ll see)
3 lbs. ground fish (I used a mixture of pike, whitefish and salmon)
3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 tbsp. matzo meal
3/4 cup ice water
Preheat the oven to 325o F. Grease a large bundt pan.
In a food processor, blend the onion, 2 of the carrots and eggs until nearly smooth. Put fish in large bowl and add blended ingredients. Add salt, pepper, sugar and oil. Mix adding water slowly to mixture. Add matzo meal and mix for 5 minutes.
Cut 1 carrot into thin curls with potato peeler place in the bundt pan, curling them so that they will be on the outside of the loaf when it’s turned out. Gently cover with layer of fish and pat firmly with wet hands. Cover with tin foil and bake for one hour. Uncover and continue baking for 15 to 30 minutes or until done. (I cooked for the full additional 30 minutes because my mixture wasn’t pureed quite enough and the carrot chunks needed to be cooked more. Maybe next time I might actually par-cook the carrots or just puree the mixture more.)
Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Turn out carefully onto a large cake plate or pie pan (pie pan will catch the juices, which is good), cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.
Makes 12 to 16 servings.
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