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Salmon Gefilte Fish

Salmon Gefilte Fish

 West Coast cooks have found a new twist on this old stand-by—salmon!

Gefilte fish, parve balls of ground up fish, which do not require deboning and thus can be eaten on the Sabbath, are traditionally made with a mixture of pike and whitefish. In many Jewish families, gefilte fish recipes date back to Europe and the shtetl.

Gefilte fish was 'invented', if you will, to stretch the amount of fish the family could afford to buy. By grinding it up and adding fillers such as onion, matzo meal and eggs the fish could be 'stretched' to feed more than just a few people.

Cooks living on the West Coast have reinvented the traditional recipe with salmon, a West Coast staple. My family lives all over the United States. The West Coast side of the family, me in particular, is in charge of the Passover dinners and I make salmon gefllte fish.

"I like to keep Passover meals traditional, but, after trying my first batch of gefilte fish, I couldn't get over the muddy taste."

That is when I decided to add a little West Coast verve to the dish. Building on recipes for salmon mousse, I incorporated poached salmon into my gefilte fish recipe. 

Tips: Ground fish has the best texture for gefilte fish but you can process the fish fillets in a food processor, if necessary. A good fish monger will fillet and grind your fish for you.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 24 1-ounce fish balls or 16 1½-ounce fish ballsServings



  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • ½ onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups water

Gefilte Fish Balls

  • 6 ounces pike
  • 6 ounces white fish
  • 12 ounces salmon
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, stemmed
  • ⅓ cup fresh dill, stemmed
  • ½ cup onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1  egg
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon matzo meal
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Fillet and debone all fish, reserving heads and bones. Grind fillets (see tips).

2. In a large stock pot, combine all stock ingredients along with reserved fish heads and bones. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for several hours, until reduced by one third. Strain and store for later use.

3. Roughly chop dill and parsley.

4. Place onion in the food processor and process until liquid in consistency. Add the herbs; pulse to combine.

5. In a large bowl, mix together the 3 types of fish. Add herb and onion mixture.

6. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and water; add to fish mixture.

7. Sprinkle in matzo meal and season with salt and pepper.

8. Bring strained stock back to a simmer.

9. With a wet hand, create small balls from the fish mixture. Drop them into stock. Wait for the balls to float to the surface and cook for 3 minutes (time recommended for a 1½-ounce ball).

10. Taste and season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

11. Serve with herb sauce and/or horseradish.

Contributed by: Jenn Felmley

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