As a once-a-year gefilte fish maker, always back by popular demand, I was delighted to read an article about the process but dismayed at the particular routine of the Take A Break chef (“The holiday grind — gefilte fish by hand,” Sept. 29).
First of all, grinding your own fish is ridiculous, messy, and unnecessary. I take an annual jaunt to ShopRite in Springfield (I’m sure there are others) to pick up my order of beautifully ground fish and a separate package of head, bones, and skins. Take A Break speaks of cooking the fish in a broth. Carrots and onions do not make a broth; you need the heads and bones and skin to make a broth. Add carrots and onions and plenty of salt and you have something that smells delicious and does justice to the fish. After the broth has a rich flavor, I remove all the stuff and dump it in the garbage.
Then the fish. Tilapia and flounder? Give me a break! You need white fish and carp and pike. The very best partner for gelfilte fish is horseradish. It comes in perfectly fine jars, both red and white. Grilled pineapple and chutney? Please! And no pickled onions and definitely no drizzled honey.
Of course, to each his own, and since the chef at Take A Break enjoys making new traditions, I wish him good luck. I’ll stick to the old and always cook in my mother-in-law’s (may she rest in peace) cast-iron pot. That is my secret ingredient.