Monday, April 17, 2006

Salmon Gefilte Fish poached in Fennel-wine Broth with Beet Horseradish (Hanukkah 2006)

from Cynthia Calmenson

Salmon Gefilte Fish poached in Fennel-wine Broth with Beet Horseradish

About 8 servings


¾ pound onions, coarsely chopped (3 cups)
About ½ pound carrots, coarsely chopped (1½ cups)
2 tbsp mild olive or vegetable oil
1 small fennel bulb, coarsely chopped (include stalks and some of the fennel fronds).
3 garlic cloves, peeled
3 cups dry white wine
1 tsp peppercorns
1 bay leaf
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves and stems
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1½ tsp salt
3 egg whites
2 cups heavy cream


1½ Pounds salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces, skin and any bones removed and discarded
½ pound sole, flounder, or any other soft white fish fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces, skin and any bones removed and discarded
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
Sautéed onion and carrot reserved from preparing the broth (about 1½ cups chopped onions and ¾ cup chopped carrots)
3 egg whites
1 cup prepared beet-horseradish
Soft lettuce, endive or radicchio leaves, for lining plates

Prepare the broth. In a large, wide, heavy saucepan or 5-6 quart Dutch oven, sauté the onions and carrots in the oil over medium heat until the onions are softened and the carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer about half the mixture to a food processor and let cool (you'll be using it later for the fish balls). To the saucepan, and the fennel and garlic. Mix well and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables begin to wilt and soften. Add salt to taste and 1 cup of the wine, cover the pan, and let sweat gently for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Add the remaining 2 cups wine, 5 cups of water, the peppercorns, bay leaf, and parsley. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 45 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If the broth seems weak, raise the heat to high and boil briefly to concentrate the flavors. Cool slightly, then strain the broth through a fine sieve, pushing down on the solids to extract all the flavorful juices. Discard the solids. Rinse out the pan and return the strained broth to it.

Make the fish balls. Add the salmon, sole, and garlic cloves, and egg whites to the sautéed onion and carrot in the food processor. Chop fine, using the pulse motion, but don't puree. Put the mixture in a chopping bowl or on a chopping board. Using a hand-chopping at this point incorporates air into the mixture, making it lighter and fluffier than pulsing in the food processor.) Stir in a little cream to lighten and enrich the mixture.

It's good idea to do a test for seasoning. Poach a teaspoon of the fish mixture in lightly salted boiling water for a few minutes. Taste, and if needed, add additional salt and pepper. Refrigerate the fish, covered, for at least 1 and up to 4 hours (this step makes it easier to mold and the result is fluffier fish balls).

Bring the strained broth to a gentle boil. Wetting your hands with cold water if necessary, form the fish mixture into 16 ovals, using about ¼ cup for each. Place the ovals on a platter lined with was paper. Carefully slip the fish ovals into the broth and reduce the the heat to a simmer. If the fish is not completely covered by the broth, baste with several spoonfuls of the broth. Cover the pot and poach the fish ovals for about 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick tests clean and the ovals are completely cooked through at the center. Remove fish balls to a platter and reduce the poaching liquid. Add heavy cream (reduced) at the end. Taste for seasoning.

To serve, line platters with lettuce, endive, or radicchio. Arrange two ovals of the chilled, drained fish attractively on top and accompany with the beet horseradish.

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