Rachel Ringler | Nosher
This Rosh Hashanah, Pati Jinich, cookbook author and host of “Pati’s Mexican Table,” hopes to try new foods from different parts of the world. If you, too, are looking for something different, Jinich suggests you try her Veracruz Gefilte Fish. Featuring a piquant Mexican twist, this recipe is a celebration of different culinary worlds colliding: It is inspired by Jinich’s grandmother, who arrived at the port of Veracruz in Mexico from Poland. Serve it hot with slices of challah and pickles.
Veracruz Gefilte Fish
Yields: 20 patties
For the fish patties:
1 pound red snapper fillets, no skin or bones
1 pound flounder fillets, no skin or bones
½ white onion quartered, about ½ pound
2 carrots peeled and roughly chopped, about ¼ pound
½ cup matzah meal
2 tsp kosher or sea salt, or to taste
½ tsp ground white pepper, or to taste
For the red sauce:
3 Tbsp safflower or corn oil
½ cup white onion, chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 cups fish broth or water
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 tsp kosher or sea salt, or to taste
¼ tsp ground white pepper or to taste
1 cup manzanilla olives stuffed with pimientos
8 pepperoncini peppers in vinegar brine (chiles güeros en escabeche), or more to taste
2 Tbsp capers
1. To prepare the fish patty mixture: Rinse the red snapper and flounder fillets under a thin stream of cool water. Slice into smaller pieces and place in the food processor. Pulse for 5-10 seconds until fish is finely chopped but hasn’t turned into a paste. Turn fish mixture into a large mixing bowl. Then place the onion, carrots, eggs, matzo meal, salt and white pepper into same bowl of the food processor. Process until smooth and turn into the fish mixture. Combine thoroughly.
2. To prepare the red sauce: Heat the oil in a large cooking pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion, and let it cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring, until soft and translucent. Pour the crushed tomatoes into the pot, stir, and let the mix season and thicken for about 6 minutes. Incorporate 3 cups water, 2 tablespoons ketchup, salt and white pepper. Give it a good stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and bring sauce to a gentle simmer. Continue to simmer while you roll the gefilte fish patties.
3. Place a small bowl with lukewarm water to the side of the simmering tomato broth. Start making the patties. I like to make them about 3 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1 inch high, in oval shapes. Wet your hands as necessary, so the fish mixture will not stick to your hands. As you make them, gently slide each patty into the simmering broth. Make sure it is simmering and raise the heat to medium if necessary to keep a steady simmer.
4. Once you finish making the patties, cover the pot and bring the heat to low. Cook them covered for 25 minutes. Take off the lid, incorporate the manzanilla olives, pepperoncini peppers and capers. Give it a gentle stir and simmer uncovered for 20 more minutes, so the gefilte fish will be thoroughly cooked and the broth will have seasoned and thickened nicely.