PASSOVER GEFILTE FISH WITH HORSERADISH Recipe
- 1 1 1head (about 2 1/2 pounds) green cabbage
- 1/2 1/2 1/2cup CUP_USVolumematzo meal
- 1 1 1quart QUART_USVolumefish stock, Court Bouillon (see "Soups & Stocks"), or good-quality canned fish broth
- 1 1 1tablespoon TABLESPOON_USVolumeextra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 .50 .50medium (5 ounces) onion, minced
- 2 2 2pounds POUNDWeightwhitefish fillets, such as pike, carp, or whitefish, cut into chunks
- 3 3 3eggs, separated
- 1/2 .50 .50cup CUP_USVolumechopped Italian parsley
- 2 2 2tablespoons TABLESPOON_USVolume(6 or 7 sprigs) chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 2 2 2teaspoons TEASPOON_USVolumesalt (2-3 for 12 servings)
- 1/2 .50 .50tablespoon TABLESPOON_USVolumefreshly ground white pepper
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 1 1medium carrot, peeled and cut into thin julienne strips
- 1 1 1medium leek, white part only, cut into thin julienne strips
- Grated white or red horseradish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully add the head of cabbage and blanch it for about 5 minutes; then carefully lift it out, leaving the water in the pot, and transfer the cabbage to a basin filled with cold water. When the cabbage head is cool enough to handle, remove the whole leaves and cut away the tough core. As you peel off the outer leaves, you may have to return the head of cabbage to the boiling water to soften the inner leaves. Lay the whole leaves out to dry on a clean towel and reserve.
- Put the matzo meal in a small bowl. Cover with 1 cup of fish stock and let soak until needed.
- In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until wilted but not yet browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
- In a wooden bowl or on a chopping board, chop the fish finely with a curved chopper or a large knife. Add the matzo meal with the stock, the cooled onions, 3 egg yolks, the chopped parsley and tarragon, 2 teaspoons of salt, white pepper, and cayenne to taste, and continue to chop until well combined.
- In a clean, medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form firm but not yet stiff peaks. Stir a little into the fish mixture, then, quickly but gently, fold in the remaining whites. To test for flavor, bring a little fish stock to a simmer, add a small ball of the fish mixture, and cook for about 5 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning, adding a little more salt or cayenne as you like.
- Heat the remaining fish stock and spoon a little into an 11-by-17-inch baking pan. Divide the fish mixture into twelve portions, about 4 ounces each, and enclose each portion in an oblong shape inside 1 or 2 cabbage leaves, wrapping the leaves around the filling like paper around a package, folding the bottom, then the 2 sides, and then the top over the fish; you will find that when the leaves get smaller, you will have to use 2 to wrap the fish. As each package is formed, place in the prepared baking pan, seam-side down. Pour the remaining stock over the fish and top with the julienned carrots and leeks. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, let the fish cool in the stock, and then transfer the fish and stock to an airtight container and refrigerate until serving time.
- To serve, place one package of gefilte fish on each of 12 plates, garnishing with some of the julienned carrots and leeks. Pass the horseradish for guests to add to their plates to taste.
Homemade gefilte fish tastes a world away from the kind you buy readymade in jars. In this recipe from my Adventures in the Kitchen for the traditional first course we serve at the annual Passover Seder at Spago Beverly Hills, we add brilliant green color by wrapping each piece in a blanched cabbage leaf.