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Jul 31, 2013 07:22 PM

gefilte fish

where can I find old-fashioned gefilte fish: hand chopped fish, fish balls (not loaf), wrapped in piece of fish skin? all I have seen in past years (including in orthodox areas) is over-ground fish, frozen into loaves, then boiled by the homemaker or caterer, and sliced, to present it as home-made.

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    1. re: iluvcookies

      Zabar's, Russ (sorry Niki), and Citarella serve goyische gf. They r not like my Mother (pure Galitziyana) used to make---savory, not sweet. "we" had good supplies of sugar in Congress [of Vienna] Poland---we had no reason to overdose on sugar (like Hungarians?).
      I will try Fisher Bros. in desperation, not expecting much.
      I cannot even try a private orthodox balabusta---with their dozen kids, they have even less time to make the real deal.

      1. re: hschranz

        my Ukrainian mother ( Russian at the time) ground her carp, whitefish and pike in a meat grinder, screwed to the counter. Pounds and pounds of it. It was savory not sweet. Lots of onions cooking with it. To eat it still hot, not cold, no gel, it was amazing with amazing broth. The roe was fantastic. Never had any gefilte fish as good or even close to what my mother made. If i remember correctly , when the pieces floated they were done.

        1. re: foodwhisperer

          my dear Foodwhisperer----how could u do this to me! I will not sleep a wink tonight crying and dying for a piece of real gf like your sainted Mother (and mine) used to make. I do remember the hand-powered grinder, though my mother preferred a wooden chopping block. The bright orange-colored hunks of roe were a reward for being a good kid. I confess, I preferred cold without gel, finding the hot too "fishy," and the gel too slimy, for a kid's palate.
          Whisperer, tell me honestly---do u have a sister or cousin who can reproduce this dish? there's a mitzva (and a benjamin or 2) in it for u if u can score me a batch.

          1. re: hschranz

            Well, before I get to sleep, I will say, I am now craving that good gefilte fish. My mom used to use the bathtub to clean all the fish in. She did use the chopping block also but that meat grinder made some good gefilte fish and also chopped beef liver and liver for kreplach. Anyway, I know there is a fish store in Bensonhurst that will grind you however many pounds of different fish. So the hard part is done, I can get my mom's recipe from a cousin of mine, who published a book of "almost" my mom's recipes. Good horseradish to go with the fish helps.

            1. re: foodwhisperer

              great! do not get me started on horseradish. I have not had good horseradish in years. even grind-your-own does not help---today's mild horseradishes r bred to be edible, not like in my day when they were bred to kill.
              I hear-tell that ShopRight's house brand is as good as it gets. for me, I usually settle for wasabi-spiked HR.
              anyway, get me the name of that cookbook--I live 2 blocks from Waxman's---he will find it.

              1. re: foodwhisperer

                Your Mother cleaned the fish in the bath-tub? or she put them in the tub wrapped in wet newspaper so they live a day or 2 longer till they were needed.
                but cleaning? not necessary. in the late 50's, on Tremont Avenue in the east Bronx, the fishman Nathan would scale, gut, and debone your fish on the spot. He made sure not to injure the skin or head, so they could be used for decorative purposes, especially for the New Year.

                1. re: hschranz

                  I'm pretty sure she cleaned them in the tub. She didn't keep them alive in the tub. I think she may have used the larger bones to give flavor to the broth. Not sure, it's been too long. On occasion we would catch bass, pickerel, and perch upstate and she would make Gefilte fish out of fresh caught fish.

            2. re: foodwhisperer

              Are we related?

              My grandmother made amazing gf. I used to beg her to teach me to make it. But she never would. Then she got Alzheimer's and that was that. Lost forever.

              I always vowed to recreate it. What is the title of your friend's book? I have purchased a couple cookbooks in the effort to make it, I would like to see this one too.

              You NEVER get the roe in a commercial gf.

              Years ago I used to get it on West 72nd Street from a small ultra orthodox store. Homemade horseradish there too.

              1. re: sushiman

                we may be related , who knows? Anyway , the book was written by my cousin , who took my mom's recipe's.. I don't think many copies were made,,but I will get the recipe,, But those recipes are not correct anyway ,,my mother went by feel, with a handful of this and a pinch of that , until it felt right. On occasion a cigarette ash would be added. But the taste is something you always want and restaurants never get. It's like a Jewish Umami.

        2. Try Fisher Brothers on the Upper West Side

          1. Try posting this on the kosher board. They have a lot of sources.

            1. If anyone's interested in making their own Gefilte Fish, we've split a recipe over to the Home Cooking board at: Check it out!

              1. what a wonderful post!!!