Upgrade your gefilte fish this Passover by replacing the jarred, commercial variety with a flavorful take on an old favorite. This baked gefilte fish with its sweet, clean taste and colorful beet and horseradish topping can be made in muffin tins for individual servings or in a larger baking dish for convenience (see variation below).
Cooked beets color the “frosting” a dark pink, and the horseradish (which loses much of its punch as it bakes) gives it a little buzz. If you prefer, skip the topping and sprinkle paprika on instead at the point the topping is added.
The recipe works with a wide variety of fish. Use the traditional pike and carp or try cod, red snapper or any other milder white fish. Up to half the fish can be replaced by salmon. The recipe requires the use of a large-capacity food processor. Work in batches if using a smaller machine.
Baked Gefilte Fish with Beet-Horseradish Topping
Makes about 24 “cupcakes”
vegetable oil for greasing, plus 1/2 cup
1 lb. yellow onions (about 2 medium)
8 oz. carrots (about 5 medium)
4 oz. celery stalks (about 2 large)
1 cup packed, flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. grated fresh, peeled ginger
3 lbs. fish fillets
1/4 cup matzah meal
4 large eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 Tbs. sugar
Beet-Horseradish Topping (see recipe)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease standard-size muffin or cupcake tins. Peel and cut onion into large chunks. Put in food processer and pulse until roughly chopped. Peel carrots if desired and cut into chunks. Cut celery in chunks. Add carrots, celery, parsley, zest and ginger to processor bowl. Process until finely chopped. Empty into very large bowl.
Cut fillets in large chunks. Place in empty food processor (no need to clean between steps) with matzah meal. Pulse until very finely ground. Remove from processor and mix with vegetables in bowl.
Add eggs, salt, pepper, sugar and 1/2 cup oil to processor and process until combined. Scrape into fish-vegetable mixture and mix well until ingredients are evenly distributed. Fill prepared muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Spread Beet-Horseradish Topping across individual gefilte fish cakes to cover. Return to oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes until topping is set and fish is firm and cooked through. Let cool in muffin tins on wire rack. Gently remove from tins, using a knife to loosen edges if needed. Serve or wrap airtight and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving. Serve with additional horseradish on top of lettuce leaves if desired.
Variation: Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Put fish mixture in dish. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, then spread on Beet-Horseradish Topping. Return to oven for 40-50 minutes more until fish is firm. Cool in pan on rack. Any liquid will be reabsorbed as the fish cools. Chill. Cut into 24 pieces. Bring to room temperature before serving.
10 oz. russet potato
1 lb. beets or 15 oz. can sliced beets packed in water
2 large eggs, beaten
4 Tbs. prepared white horseradish
1/4 tsp. salt
Peel, boil and mash potato. Measure out 2 cups and reserve remainder for another use. Trim and bake or steam the beets. Peel. Cut into small pieces. (If using canned, drain and cube.) Mash with potatoes. (Mixture should be a bit lumpy and not totally smooth.) Mix in eggs, horseradish and salt until well combined.
Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Josie A.G. Shapiro. Faith blogs about her food at www.clickblogappetit.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.