Fried Gefilte Fish

When I lived in Scotland, cooking gefilte fish for Passover and other Jewish holidays meant frying it. I had actually never heard of boiled gefilte until I came to Canada. Here, no one makes the crunchy fried version and that’s a shame. When doing it the Scottish way, the mixture of fish is different than the one used for boiled gefilte. It is lighter and full of flavour and makes for perfect fluffy fish cakes for any occasion. On Passover, I use matzo meal in them, but during other times of the year I substitute panko for the coating and fresh bread crumbs for the fish cake itself. The cakes can be cooked immediately or frozen raw. To freeze raw, arrange the patties side by side on a tray lined with parchment paper or foil. When the tray is full, cover the patties with parchment or foil and make another layer of cakes on top. Put the tray in the freezer uncovered. When the fish is frozen, place in freezer bags. Defrost in the refrigerator and recoat with matzo meal or panko before frying. Serve hot with horseradish sauce or at room temperature with coleslaw, pickled cucumbers or salad.

Ready time: 1 1/2 hours
Servings: 12 cakes

1 cup onion, chopped

2 eggs

2 teaspoons salt

Pinch of white pepper

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying

1/2 cup matzo meal

1 pound (500 grams) haddock fillet, skinned

1 pound (500 grams) cod fillet, skinned

1 cup matzo meal

Vegetable oil for frying

Combine onions with eggs, salt, pepper, sugar and 1 tablespoon oil in a food processor. Process until reduced to a smooth puree. Pour into a large bowl and stir in 1/2 cup matzo meal. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chilled through.

Cut the fish into 1-inch chunks. Place half the fish in the food processor and process for 5 to 10 seconds until the fish is finely chopped but not pureed. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with remaining fish. Stir fish into matzo-meal mixture. The mixture should be firm enough to shape into a soft patty or ball. If it feels too soft, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons more matzo meal. Leave for half an hour or refrigerate overnight.

Scoop 1/3 cup portions of mixture and form into patties about 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick. If mixture sticks to your hands, rinse them under cold water and keep them wet.

Scatter remaining 1 cup of matzo meal on a plate. Season with salt and pepper. Gently coat patties.

Pour enough oil to reach 1/2-inch depth in a deep skillet. Heat until hot enough to brown a 1-inch cube of bread in 30 seconds. Cook patties in batches without overcrowding the skillet for 3 minutes per side or until deeply golden and cooked through.

Transfer patties onto paper towels to drain. Cool for 10 minutes and serve hot or cool completely and reheat later in a 350 F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until hot.