I recently presented a cooking demo based on my new Passover kids’ cookbook Let My Children Cook, in Jerusalem. During the time the women and I had together we talked about some of the recipes (of course), watched some of them being made and baked right there, and tasted every one of them (was this in doubt?). I don’t know who had the better time – the ladies or myself. I really enjoy meeting new people this way and hearing their experiences, their feedback, and, of course, their own recipes.
After writing a number of cookbooks, you’d think I’ve heard it all when it comes to gefilte fish. Then, a participant speaks up and tells me her favorite version of what to do with an average gefilte fish roll – something I’d never even considered. So, if I am smart, I run and get a scrap of paper and write it down because these kinds of ideas are gold nuggets when it comes to creativity! Or, someone tells me that her grandmother from (name that country) used to tell her what her mother made for Passovers when she was a child, and I get introduced to yet another facet of Jewish history and food. Sometimes I think I ought to record my shows since I don’t always remember every single thing by the time I get home and that’s a shame, since every memory is precious.
I also find that with every demo, I learn something to help me in the kitchen. Whether it’s a good tip or a recipe, there’s always novel wisdom I gain from the participants. This demo was no exception.
I was in the middle of demonstrating and explaining how I came up with the unlikely “Moroccan-Style Gefilte Fish” recipe in my new cookbook. I was explaining the way I developed the recipe and what I’d done to get the taste just right. Then one participant asked me if I defrost the roll first. I explained that it is best to defrost for about a half hour, so the paper on the roll removes easily. Someone else chimed in explaining a very easy way to avoid the wait: Simply take the wrapped, frozen loaf out of the plastic. Unwrap the two ends, run it under a stream of water, and…voilà! The paper then slides right off. I just shaved half an hour off this recipe. What a great tip! I’m certainly going to remember that for next time.
Since I mentioned my new gefilte fish recipe and the wonderful time-saving tip I learned, I’d like to share the recipe with you:
Moroccan-Style Gefilte Fish
Okay, so maybe this one is messing around with two different customs of fish — “gefilte fish” is mostly Eastern European, and Moroccan-style is mostly, well, Sefardi, but it comes out so good that I just had to share it.
Pareve; Serves 10
Let’s get to it!
- 1 frozen, ready-made gefilte fish roll
- 1 cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika (cayenne pepper)
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into round slices
And here’s how you do it!
1.Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Peel off the wrapper and parchment paper from the frozen fish loaf and place it in the lined loaf pan.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the tomato paste, olive oil and all the spices.
4. Smear this all over the fish loaf and add in any leftover tomato paste.
5. Place the cut onions and carrots all over the fish loaf and in any spaces you find in the pan.
6. Cover the loaf with the parchment paper and then again with a piece of foil. Seal the edges well.
7. Bake for 1½ hours. Remove from the oven and let cool; refrigerate until serving.
Serve sliced, with the cooked veggies on the side. Really delish and quite different, too! And the aroma it emits while baking in your oven makes the whole kitchen smell inviting and amazing.
The Jewish world is full of debates. Get the latest in MyJewishLearning’s weekly blogs newsletter.