There are many foods out there that cause you to wonder, “Who in the hell decided to eat this?” Like say, the pomegranate. Who opened that up and instead of planting it in the beds of their enemies, said, “Let’s eat!” Same goes for a goat. On a much more minor scale, who thought, “Hey, do you know what would be great on celery? Peanut butter.” Sure it’s a tasty treat, but it’s just not intuitive. Gefilte fish is, for me, is the king of those foods.
Granted, I married into the tribe rather than being raised on Manischewitz and whitefish. Since every other family member I have LOVES this bizarro Passover tradition, and one of you super readers even asked me how to make gluten-free gefilte fish, clearly I just don’t get it. But in preparation for a Passover seder tonight, as well as in service to my chosen readers, I just spent a huge amount of time making something that I won’t even eat. And then scrubbing down my kitchen and opening up all of the windows so I did not have that “gefilte fish” smell in my home. You’re excited about this recipe aren’t you?
This is also one of the first (and hopefully only) times I’ve made something that I’ve never eaten before. Oh, except for that gluten-free deep fried Kool-Aid, but I had an idea of what that should taste like. Doesn’t everyone?
I didn’t even understand that gefilte fish even had gluten in it, then learned about the matzo meal. So I bought my Yehuda gluten-free matzo, and ground it all up real fine in the blender. That worked out well, then came the fish stock. Which I couldn’t find and was unwilling to make. Did I mention I wasn’t even going to be eating this? I substituted gluten-free vegetable stock, even though no one suggests you should do this. No one. Also, apparently some recipes for gefilte fish include sugar, which I can’t even.You guys, I didn’t even know what it was supposed to look like. But I did enjoy this presentation before putting the whole mess into the oven.
The recipe I used had you boil a cabbage (because whitefish does not give enough of an odor, apparently) and use the cabbage leaves to wrap up your gefilte fish. Then you slice and dice your leeks and carrots on top. My husband informed me that “leeks are the rich man’s onion” so, okay. I think this looks fun. I’m still not going to eat it, but my husband tried one and he proclaimed it, “Better than normal gefilte fish.” I don’t even know what that means, but I do know it does not look like the stuff in the jar. Although my husband did admit to missing that gelatinous feel. GAH.
Here’s the thing. When I roll in with this gluten-free gefilte fish everyone at the seder is going to know that 1) I’m the gluten-free weirdo, and 2) I’m the shiksa.
Get your Passover on, people.
Gluten-Free Gefilte Fish
adapted from Food Network
prep time: 25 minutes cook time: 45 minutes
1 head green cabbage
2 pounds white fish (I used tilapia, because I’m fancy like that)
1/2 cup gluten-free matzo meal
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup chopped parsley
6 sprigs tarragon, chopped
3 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 quart fish stock (I sub’d vegetable, but you know, you should probably get fish)
1 medium carrot, julienne style or use a vegetable peeler for thin peels
1 medium leek, thinly sliced
Horseradish for serving
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Boil water in a large pot with a pinch of salt, use enough water to cover a whole head of cabbage. When water is boiling, blanch cabbage for 7 minutes. Remove cabbage, and allow to cool. After it has cooled, core the cabbage and remove the outer layer. Remove each leaf and set aside for wrapping the fish.
3. Combine gluten-free matzo meal with 1/2 fish stock in a bowl, and allow to stand while you prepare the rest of your mixture.
4. Heat olive oil in a skillet, add onion and cook on medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes until wilted, but not brown. Allow onions to cool.
5. Slice and dice fish into very small pieces. Combine fish, cooled onions, matzo and stock mixture, salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper, chopped parsley and tarragon into a large bowl. Mix in egg yolks and combine well. Heat remaining stock on the stovetop to a simmer.
6. Beat egg whites until fluffy, but not stiff. Fold into fish mixture. Make mixture into balls, and wrap inside a cabbage leaf. You may need to use two cabbage leaves when they get smaller, the closer you get to the core. Place each ball inside a 11″ by 17″ baking pan, pour hot stock over the balls, and cover with leeks and carrots. Cover baking dish with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
7. Allow to cool, then refrigerate before serving. Serve with horseradish and your cooked leeks and carrots.
Makes: 12 servings