Recipe: Fany Gerson’s Mexican Gefilte Fish
This richly flavored gefilte fish, served warm, is easy to prepare: It is sautéed rather than poached, so it requires no fish broth, and the sauce may be made ahead. “Whitefish and carp, freshwater fish varieties, are nice, but in Mexico, my grandmother uses a kind of sea bass,” Gerson writes.
- 1 medium white onion, chopped coarsely
- About 2 pounds ground white-fleshed fish, such as sea bass (if your fishmonger cannot grind the fish for you, you can grind it by pulsing the filleted fish in a food processor)
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup matzoh meal
- About 1 cup ice water or fish fumet
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Salt and fresh ground white pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil, as needed
- Guajillo-Chipotle Sauce (recipe follows)
- Grind onion in food processor. Add fish, season with sugar, salt and pepper and pulse to combine. With machine running, add eggs, one by one. Add matzoh meal and combine well. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Add enough ice water or fish fumet so that a ball is easily formed and holds together (make sure hands are slightly damp). Form quenelles (oval patties) with a soup spoon, using damp hands to shape them.
- Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat (cast iron or stainless steel work best) and add enough oil to reach halfway up the gefilte fish. Fry until bottoms are golden brown. Turn over, making sure to “bathe” the gefilte fish with the oil, and brown the other side. Keep warm in a warm oven or put in warm sauce to heat through. Serve warm, topped with Guajillo-Chipotle Sauce. Makes about 25 gefilte fish ovals.
Add the reserved soaking water if a thinner sauce is desired. If canned chipotles are used, they should be added to the food processor along with the guajillos. But these can be quite spicy, so be careful!
- 6 fresh ripe tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 4 dried guajillo chilies, seeded and stemmed
- 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
- 4 dried chipotle chilies, seeded and stemmed or 1-2 canned chilies
- Salt to taste
- 1/3 cup–1/2 cup vegetable oil
- Preheat broiler. Remove core of tomatoes with a knife. Place tomatoes and garlic (no oil needed) on a baking sheet and broil, turning so that all sides are blackened. Allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, toast the dried chilies in a dry skillet or pan over medium heat just until you can smell the aroma of the chilies (make sure not to leave them too long, as this will make the sauce bitter). Soak the toasted chilies for 15 minutes in hot water to rehydrate them. Reserve the soaking water.
- Peel the tomatoes. Squeeze the garlic from their peels. In a food processor, combine tomatoes and garlic puree with a little salt, and pulse to a slightly chunky sauce consistency. Remove about three-quarters of the mixture and set aside. Add the drained, rehydrated chilies to the remaining mixture in the food processor and blend until smooth (you may want to add the chilies a little at a time, tasting to make sure the sauce is only as spicy as desired). Combine this pureed mixture with the reserved, slightly chunky tomato sauce.
- Warm a pot over medium heat and add oil. Add onions and brown slightly. Add tomato-chili mixture and cook over low-medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly. (Watch out, because the sauce splatters!) Taste and adjust salt, if needed.