Gefilte Fish Beggar's Pures

by Barry Wine

12 servings of 3 purses per person

Matzoh Crêpes:

  • 1 cups matzoh meal
  • 12 large eggs
  • 2 cups water
  • teaspoon salt
  • cup peanut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon pareve unsalted margarine, melted

Gefilte Fish:

  • pound whitefish fillets, plus rib cage from the fish
  • pound pike fillets, plus rib cage from the fish
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1 onion
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 6 cups water
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons pareve unsalted margerine
  • cup matzoh meal
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • cup grated fresh horseradish
  • 36 long chive strands
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

To make the crêpes, in a bowl, combine the matzoh cake meal, eggs, water and salt. Let rest for at least 30 minutes at a temperature slightly above room temperature. Right before using the crêpe batter, add the peanut oil and strain. The consistency should be that of heavy cream. If, after making your first crêpe, it is too thick, add more water. Use a well-seasoned 5- or 6-inch crêpe or Teflon-coated pan over medium heat. If necessary, use a paper towel lightly dipped in melted margarine to grease the pan. Pour just enough batter into the pan to lightly coat the bottom, pouring back any excess into the uncooked batter. Cook the crêpe until browned on one side. Lift with a small spatula and flip the crêpe over to cook for 15 seconds more. Remove from the pan and repeat. The recipe makes about 36 crêpes. Trim the crêpes to 5 inches. Wrap in plastic wrap as soon as completed to avoid their drying out.

To make the gefilte fish, first make a stock. In a pot, combine the fish bones without the head and skin with the carrot, celery, onion, parsley, lemon, cinnamon and salt and pepper to taste. Add 6 cups of the water and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. (By omitting the heads and skin and adding the lemon and cinnamon, the fish will taste - and the house smell - better.) Strain the stock, reserving the onion and carrot. Meanwhile, combine the remaining cup of water, nutmeg, margarine, and teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the matzoh meal. Stir until dry, about 1 minute, remove from the heat and let cool. Taking care that the fish stays very cold, grind the fish fillets and the shallots in a food processor until smooth, but slightly textured, using the on-off pulse to a count of 10. You do not want a mush. Take half the reserved carrot and onion from the stock and chop to make a fine yet textured dice. In a bowl, fold the egg yolks into the fish mixture. Fold in the carrot and onion. Using your hand, combine the fish and the matzoh mixtures. Chill, covered.

Bring the strained fish stock to just under a boil. In a bowl, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold into the fish and matzoh mixture. With a small scoop, make -inch balls. Put about 10 fish balls at a time into the hot stock and poach gently for 5 minutes. Drain and cool. Lay out the crêpes, 12 at a time. Put a scant teaspoon of grated horseradish root in the center of the crêpe. Place the gefilte fish on top of the horseradish. Carefully pleat the crêpe up around the fish. About inch from the top, tie with the chive strands, which have been dipped in hot tap water to soften. Cut off excess chive. Repeat with remaining gefilte fish and crêpes. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate and remove from the refrigerator before serving. This dish can be made a day or two in advance. If desired, add additional horseradish for dipping.


Adapted from
"The New York Times
Passover Cookbook"
edited by Linda Amster,
William & Morrow, 1999.