Saturday, March 27, 2010

Second Helping: Gefilte-Matzo Ball Fusion Soup

Some might think that I just went crazy. The idea of putting together on the same plate matzo balls and a twisted gefiltefish came while I was trying to sleep. And this is why... After I got married, Seder was planned so much in advance that its preparation became something like a delicious process with family traditions and memories. Before kids and marriage it was only the occasional luck of being invited to celebrate with some of my friends, like Sheila, who introduced me to a very nice Sephardic Seder, with an unforgettable Charoset, the best I ever tasted in my life!

This year is just the contrary. Not having any family around makes me sad, but also gives me some room to dare. My imagination is that a very well-flavored fish and vegetable broth and a matzo ball with something else could work fine.

So, after some reading and research I tried this new thing. The basic recipe is from a Manischewitz Matzo Meal packet, but I adapted a little bit, using also the excellent matzo ball recipe published by Jewish Holiday Feasts (by Louise Fiszer and Jeannette Ferrary) as a reference.

I don't want to change tradition or challenge the best matzo ball soups I ever tasted before. Also, this is a good way of introducing kids to gefiltefish. And finally I just want to try something new. As I learn every year, Passover is the celebration of Freedom. Happy Passover, Chag Sameach!

Matzo Fish Ball Soup with Lemon Zest and Ginger

The recipe was developed last week and tested once. My husband, who loves traditional matzo ball soup, described it as a happy fusion of three of his grandmother's delicious food: matzo balls, gefiltefish and borscht.

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided in three
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/2 white onion, chopped
12 ounces white fish fillets (I used wild-caught orange roughy, and tilapia might be a good choice)
2 gallons water, divided
Kosher salt to taste
2/3 cup matzo meal (good for Passover)
3 eggs, beaten
zest of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh dill
1 medium carrot, cut in swirls with a peeler
horseradish and beet to garnish (Chrain)

In a heavy-bottomed large stock pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic. Add celery, fennel, ginger and onion, frying them without browning. Add fish fillets and shallow fry with vegetables and ginger. Add  8 cups of water and simmer for 50 minutes. Remove fish and let it cool. Simmer broth, with remaining vegetables, for 20 minutes more.

When fish has cooled to room temperature, shred it finely and reserve. In another bowl, mix matzo meal, eggs, 2 tablespoons of the fish stock, and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add shredded fish and dill. Mix to a uniform dough and let it rest for at least 15 minutes in the fridge, or more if indicated by your matzo meal package.

In another large pot, bring about one and a half gallons of water (24 cups) to a boil. Reduce heat and immerse balls of matzo mix (each about 1 tablespoon) to the water. When balls reach the water's surface, simmer and cook for about 35 minutes. Remove and refrigerate balls.

When serving, heat matzo fish balls in the strained fish and vegetable broth, adding more water, if necessary. Serve with lemon zest, a dollop of horseradish and beets mix, 2 to 3 carrot swirls, and a branch of fresh dill.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This posting is interesting and intriguing. I like this creative way to approach tradition. Although some may think that tradition and innovation are opposite, the contrary is actually true: genuine innovation derives from tradition. In music, for instance, great composers such as J.S.Bach and Jean-Philippe Rameau, who were deeply rooted on tradition, marked music in a very personal way.
Varying upon a traditional ground, this Matzo fish ball soup is a welcome innovation. I am certainly going to try it!
Myrna Herzog


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