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Mar 17, 2013 08:46 AM

Carp a la Juive?

Anybody have experience with making Carp a la Juive? I am thinking of making it instead of gefilte fish for the seder--and probably not with carp. I tried it this weekend with whitefish steaks, which tasted good but was way too bony. I'd also rather not use salmon.
Any experiences? Any tips?

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  1. Oh my, you brought back a truly frightening nightmare of my childhood. My family is Hungarian by way of Belgium and France before coming to the US. Long story short, gefilte carp was a Pesach specialty of my grandmother.

    When I was little, growing up in central Ohio, my grandma had to have FRESH carp for Pesach. She would get a few from friends of the family. They were ALIVE and she would store the living carp in our BATHTUB until erev Pesach when she would fish them out of the tub,hit them over the head, gut them, and make the dish.

    Needless to say, my throat closes at the very thought of carp. Just thought I needed to share a funny story.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Diane in Bexley

      Join the club. My Hungarian mom also had carp in the bathtub, mostly to clean them out before she started the carpageddon. I used to look forward to popping their air bladders - which is pretty horrific in hindsight.

      1. re: ferret

        Wow, I didn't realize this topic would bring up such a flood of Hungarian carp horror stories! (I also posted it on Home Cooking.) I assure you have no intention of hosting a carp in my bathtub.

      2. re: Diane in Bexley

        I wish... when i needed carp I would go to a chinese fish market, but it live and fresh, have them gut it and scale it and then take it to my mom's or grandmother's back in the day. So fresh that when they sliced it, the tail would smack.
        keeping it alive and fresh till it was needed was a great idea. What's fresher than a live fish?

        I know it was silly for some to have their bathtub taken over, but the carp would be so sweet when fresh. Too bad she didn't have an expensive fish tank like high end chinese restos. (yes, some hungarian in the background).

        fwiw carpe a la juive (which i saw on google) is just a french adaptation of polish Zydowsky ryby or some such, which is a polish adaptation of jewish carp preparations.
        Real gefilte fish, where the fish is boned, a layer if meat is left intact next to the skin, the other fish is minced and made into a traditional mousseline mixture, restuffed into the carp and then poached whole... afterwards sliced and served with head and tail intact, very impressive.
        Most americans just serve the sliced mousseline mixture, poached.

        1. re: Jerome

          Yes, I'm now leaning toward a baked gefilte terrine. I've just been informed that a couple family members are not big fans of fish gel. I still want to try the old recipe soon.
          I suspect that keeping the carp in the bathtub not only assured freshness, but purged it of some of its muddiness--especially if it had been caught in the East River or thereabouts.

      3. I've had it in Paris, but my friend/hostess, a Parisienne of Polish Jewish descent, simply called it gefilte fish (in French, obviously). It was very good. But she had the fishmonger prepare the fish.

        ""Carpe à la juive" by the way. An e on carp in French and no caps when "juive" is an adjective. This means "Carp in the Jewish style".

        If you google that, you'll get lots of links!

        3 Replies
        1. re: lagatta

          Thanks for the correction. My Francophile wife would no doubt cringe at my spelling. The cookbooks I saw used the the term not for gefilte fish (essentially quenelles de poisson, non?) but to fish steaks or pieces in a cold gel sauce.

          1. re: chefMolnar

            The original gefilte ("filled") fish is fish steaks (meaning slices of fish cut crosswise) stuffed with the quenelle-like mixture. And, yes, served in a cold gel sauce.

            1. re: almond tree

              That's right--when I've had homemade "gefilte fish" in Israel that's usually what it's been.

        2. Just an update--I made a gefilte terrine from the New York Times Passover Cookbook with whitefish, pickerel , and a couple of strips of pureed carrot and leeks in the middle. It was excellent. There was some leftover mix, which my daughter put in muffin tins for gefilte muffins. Thanks to everybody for the advice and memories.