Fish out of Season
Many dishes are seasonal. Little did I think gefilte fish was one of them when I recently offered to make a batch.
Tomorrow a group of (mostly) women are getting together at Temple Micah to share stories and food based on the Holocaust Survivor Cookbook. The book is a collection of recipes with information about the cooks, who all survived the Holocaust. The afternoon sounded interesting, so I signed up to participate. I had only titles to choose from, but the recipes spanned most anything a good Jewish cook might make. For some reason I was drawn to Oma’s Gefilte Fish.
I’ve never attempted to make gefilte fish at any time other than Passover. Then I call up my Korean fishmonger to place my order for a combination of ground whitefish, pike, and carp with an accompanying bag of bones, skin, and heads. But this time when I called and finally explained to the woman what I wanted she laughed and said that type of fish was available only at Passover and furthermore I would need to grind my own.
So today I picked up rockfish and cod and hoped they would be suitable substitutes. In reading over the recipe, some of the proportions didn’t make a lot of sense, so I just decided to make my own version of the recipe, one where I dump things in with no regard to measuring. When it looks and feels right, I can begin to form the fish balls.
I’ll bet Oma never measured either. That’s probably why the measurements are off -- because she tried to write down what she thought she used.
The resulting fish balls look pretty much like my usual gefilte fish. People probably won’t know the difference.
Horseradish roots are also a seasonal thing, being a part of the Passover story. So I bought a jar of white horseradish at the Safeway and a small beet, which I grated into it to turn it red.
I hope Oma (now deceased) will forgive the liberties I took with her recipe.