I mean, how often do you really make your OWN gefilte nowadays? I used to do this every week for at least six years … and then life got so busy, thank G‑d, it was a toss-up: What’s going to give? My sanity, my challahs, or making my own fish?

I decided that my sanity just had to stay (no one else out there to replace it), and my challahs … well, if you know anything about me, that is just non-negotiable. (Plus, you know, it’s a mitzvah)

Yet fish, on the other hand, can be bought. Except when it comes to Pesach.

That first Seder night when we finally bring out the meal … after the egg in salt water, plus sweeping up the first bucketload of crumbs, and we bite into that first taste of the Pesach “best gefilte fish ever” — PLUS my own chrein and even my own mayo — wow — just the smell alone brings on that first wave of “Pesach is H.E.R.E. at last” kind of feelings.

AHHHH. I can’t wait to get to cooking mine myself!

Fish Ingredients

  • 2–3 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 medium onions, peeled
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 2¼ lbs. (1 kilo) ground fish, i.e. carp or cassif (silver carp), or a half-half mix; or a mix of whitefish and pike
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper

Broth Ingredients

  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 2–3 fish bones or fish heads, optional

Grind the carrots and onions in a food processor together with 2 of the eggs until it is smooth. Put the remaining ingredients into a large mixer bowl and add the blended vegetable mixture to it. Beat this together for 15 minutes on medium speed until it is well mixed and has a thick consistency. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or overnight if necessary, before shaping. The mixture can be shaped into balls and cooked right away, or frozen into logs for later use.

Fill a large pot halfway with water. The pot should have room for the fish to expand. Add the ingredients for the broth. When the broth is boiling rapidly, add the fish. Cover the pot halfway, turn down the flame to low, and simmer for about 1½ hours. If you are using frozen fish logs, follow the same directions for the broth, and after the water boils, remove the paper or plastic covering while it is still frozen and place the log in the water. After the fish is cooked, place it in a large plastic container together with some broth and vegetables. To keep the fish balls from getting squashed while storing them, lay them out in a single layer.

Serve with homemade chrein and mayo for fantastic results!

Yields: 3 medium loaves or 30 balls