I'm surprised at how many disgruntled gefilte fans are writing to request the winning recipe of the Great Gefilte Fish-off. I apologize: things in Shallot-land have been a little hectic to say the least. Thankfully, however, I have done the testing (of course dressed in the proper attire; see the above shoyt) and come up with this fine, finned victor. The winner - a lovely young lady called Tammy from NY -- writes:
"This recipe is my grandmother's. She passed away 8 months ago, and a large part of my eulogy was devoted to our misadventures in gefilte
fish-making. The recipe serves 25-30; don't get stuck eating it for
weeks like we did unless you have 25-30 gefilte-loving friends.
Preparing the fish:
9 lbs. carp (buy ground)
3 lb. either white fish, pike, or mullet (buy ground) -- my grandmom
suggests buying roe fish, b/c it's sweeter
*** Make sure the skin and bones from the white fish are included.
Fish men are not good listeners (a running theme in aforementioned
Put the fish in a pot with just enough water to cover it & bring to a boil.
Grind 4 onions and 2 carrots and add to the fish, along with:
2 T salt
2 T pepper (to taste, really)
6 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. water
9 T matzo meal
Mix until blended, then chop so it aerates. (My grandmom had a
special wide, shallow wooden bowl & hand-held chopper for this
At the bottom of the pot, put:
6 onions, chopped
6 carrots, sliced
1 T salt
1 T pepper (again, to taste)
15 c. water (enough to nearly, but not entirely, cover the fish)
1 sweet potato, peeled & quartered
skin & bones from the white fish (wrap up the loose bones in skin)
onions peels (wrapped up into a compact package)
Bring everything to a boil. Shape the fish into cakes and drop into
the pan one at a time. On top of the fish cakes put tied-up dill &
parsnip (basically, leftover soup greens -- any good Jewish housewife
would have just finished making matzo ball soup). Cover the pot &
cook for 2 hours. While it's cooking, shake the pot so nothing
sticks to the bottom and burns. After about an hour of cooking take
off the lid and baste the fish cakes. Rotate which cakes are on top
so all have a chance to brown.
When you're done, remove the fish cakes and arrange them in a flat
container. Discard the onion peels, soup greens, and skin & bones.
Then remove the sweet potato & carrots and slice to accompany your
fish. Finally, pour the liquid around the fish cakes (you may wish
to strain out some, if not all, of the onion). Put the container
into the refrigerator until cold. Voila.
FYI, making gefilte fish is, quite frankly, a pain in the ass. Even
my grandmother would agree. She & I both got lazy in our old age and
doctored the store-bought stuff, which turned out surprisingly well &
fooled everyone. (Basically, you prepare the pot as above, but dump
in the contents of a couple jars of Manischewitz' finest.)"
The verdict on Tammy's recipe: It gave me tsoris, making such a huge batch, but nothing tasted more like my Grandma's than this one. And now the mystery has been solved! Tammy is a golden gefilte goddesss.
**Lastly: Thanks Tammy -- and thanks to all those who entered (you know who you are). If you couldn't slather together some grimy fish meal this time, well, stay tuned for more Shallot food contests, featuring, among other things, borscht, corned beef, and oysters rockefeller!
Happy New Year!