Gefilte Fish w/Shad, Maryland Spicy - pareve

Posted by : Ruth Heiges

This is from an old column of Zillah Bahar's in the Jewish Bulletin of Northern
California. She takes this from "Jewish Cooking in America," by Joan Nathan, who
writes how immigrants from Europe adapted traditional gefilte fish recipe to
locally available types of fish.


"'In Alaska,' Nathan notes, 'greyling or Mackinaw trout are used; in the
Northwest, salmon; in Maine, haddock or halibut and mackerel; in Florida, red
snapper; in Hawaii, mahimahi and butterfish; in the Southwest, tilapia.'' In the
Midwest, she reports, older Jewish cooks combine whitefish with lake trout and

"Her sole adaptation hails from Maryland. But it's a tempting one that packs a
punch with spicy Old Bay Seasoning. A no-holds-barred horseradish then finishes
the job."

Makes about 36 fish balls

10 pounds whole shad, heads and tails removed and the shad boned (reserve heads,
tails and frames)
16 cups water, or to cover fish bones
4 onions, peeled and left whole
1 stalk celery, left whole
Salt to taste
8 peppercorns
4 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning, or to taste*
1 pound boned perch or other firm white fish (optional)
3 large eggs
1/3 cup water
1/2 to 1 cup matzah meal
red horseradish
pickled beets
carrot slivers
parsley for garnish

Wash the shad heads and tails, and place with the bones along with the water in
a large pot.

Add to the pot 2 of the onions, the celery, 1 tsp. salt, the peppercorns, and 3
tsp. Old Bay Seasoning. Bring to a boil and skim the foam off the top. Simmer,
partially covered, while preparing the fish, about an hour.

Grind the remaining onions in a food processor. Add the fish and continue to
process, pulsing on and off, but not to a mush. If you want a firmer fish ball,
add the perch or other firm fish.

Add salt, the remaining 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning (or to taste), the eggs and 1/3
cup of water and process briefly. Add 1/2 cup of matzah meal and process, then
continue adding more until the mixture feels tacky, not mushy. Let it sit in the
refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fish mixture is stiff enough to

Strain the broth, discarding the fish bones. Return the broth to the pot and
bring to a boil.

Keep a bowl of cold water nearby; dip your hands in the cold water and mold the
fish mixture into rounds the size of squash balls, about 2 inches in diameter.

Place the fish balls in the broth and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, adding more
water if needed. Let the fish cool in the broth; then, with a slotted spoon,
remove to a platter. Reduce the liquid by half, cool and then refrigerate the
fish and the stock separately. Serve covered with the jellied sauce, red
horseradish, pickled beets and carrot slivers, and a sprig of fresh parsley.

*Note: You can make your own combination of spicy ingredients by grinding up
equal amounts of celery salt, pepper, mustard, pimiento, cloves, bay leaves,
mace, cardamom, ginger, cassia (a type of cinnamon) and paprika.

Return to RFCJ Archive Page