Cocktail Fish Balls

This is an adaptation of the basic Gefilte Fish recipe. It is popular with Ashkenazic Jews, especially those in Britain and the United States, who serve it on any festive occasion. Use a single kind of fish or a mixture of types. Almost any fish is suitable, but fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, bonito, herring) should only be used in combination with a lean fish (porgy, red snapper, etc.).


3 pounds fish, cleaned but not filleted
3 eggs, 2 separated and 1 lightly beaten
4 slices white bread, crusts removed, soaked in water, and squeezed dry
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup fine matzo meal
oil for deep'frying


1 large onion, sliced
1 carrot, split lengthwise
1 leek, sliced
8 sprigs fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons fresh dill
1 bay leaf
1 cup white wine vinegar
6 black peppercorns
1 quart water


1. Put the court-bouillon ingredients into a pot. Add water and bring to a boil on high heat. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the fish, and reduce the heat to minimum; the water should barely move. Partially cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Remove the fish from the pot. Discard the skin and bones, and flake the flesh. Place the flesh in a food processor with the egg yolks, soaked bread, salt, paprika, and pepper. Puree until smooth. Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then fold them into the fish mixture.

3. Pour the matzo meal into a shallow dish, and place the beaten egg in another. Wet your hands and roll the fish mixture into balls about the size of a walnut. Dip the balls first in the egg, then in the matzo meal.

4. Place enough oil in a deep-fryer to come 2 inches up the sides of the fryer. Heat until temperature reaches 365°F. If you have a fryer basket, put about 6 fish balls into the basket and lower basket into the hot oil. If not using a basket, lower the fish balls into the oil with a skimmer.

5. Fry quickly, turning if necessary. Drain the cooked fish balls on absorbent paper. Repeat until all fish balls have been cooked. Serve cold, on cocktail sticks.

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