Gefilte Fish (“stuffed fish”) is a dish made from a poached mixture of ground deboned fish, such as carp, whitefish, or pike. It is traditionally served as an appetizer by Ashkenazi Jewish households. Historically it consisted of a minced-fish forcemeat stuffed inside the intact fish skin. By the 16th century, cooks had started omitting the labor-intensive stuffing step, and the seasoned fish is most commonly formed into patties similar to quenelles or fish balls. These are popular on Shabbat and Jewish Holidays such as Passover, although they may be consumed throughout the year.
Gefilte Fish

Photo by Mushki Brichta. Gefilte fish topped with slices of carrot. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. The image has been modified to the standard size for images on this website.

Gefilte Fish
Recipe type: Seafood
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 6 servings
  • 3 pounds fish, filleted, with trimmings reserved
  • salt and black pepper
  • 5 onions, 2 sliced into rings
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons matzo meal
  • 2 quarts plus 1/4 Cup water
  • pinch of sugar
  • bunch of fresh parsley
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 slices lemon
  • additional cooked carrot slices for garnish
  1. The night before you make the gefilte fish, fillet the fish and place the fillets in a shallow bowl. Salt them lightly.
  2. The next day, grind the fish fillets in a food processor along with 3 of the onions and 3 of the carrots.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the eggs, matzo meal, 1/4 cup water, salt, pepper, and sugar. The mixture should be fluffy and slightly sticky. Set aside.
  4. Put the reserved head, bones, skin, and trimmings from the fish in a large soup pot along with the remaining carrot and onions, the parsley, celery, lemon slices, remaining water, and salt to taste.
  5. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes over low heat.
  6. Wet your hands and shape the fish mixture into 3 inch patties. Place patties in the simmering broth; add more water to cover the patties, if necessary. Cover pot and simmer fish patties for 1 hour.
  7. Turn off the heat and let the patties cool in the broth. When cool, carefully remove them with a slotted spoon to a serving dish. Strain the broth, then pour it over the patties. Garnish with carrot and onions from the broth.
  8. Serve warm or cold, decorated with thin slices of carrot. When served cold, the liquid will jell.
Gefilte Fish may be served as a main course or appetizer.


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