Asian Flavor Salmon Gefilte Fish with Wasabi Mustard Sauce
Gefilte fish is our grandfather's food. They are the kind of dish that takes us back to simpler, and poorer, days. Traditional gefilte fish is made from Carp. Carp is considered to be a garbage fish, but when it is all you have, you make do. We humans are very clever when we are hungry.
Scraping the meager remains of the meat off of the bones and the head of a Carp and cooking bones to make a gelatinous broth created a low cost and sustaining meal in times when there may not have been a Wal-Mart in the village.
In this dish, we have raised the bar by using wild salmon and have livened it up wth the addition of lemongrass, ginger and scallions.
Gelatin, though somewhat maligned by the current diet police, has great value as a nutrient for your joints, hair, nails and organs. It was once considered a health food and in my opinion, it still is.
1-quart fish stock for poaching
2 cups water
salt to taste
1 stick lemongrass
1 pound wild salmon meat, belly or collar trimming cleaned of excess fat or cartilage
1/2 finely diced onion
5-6 cilantro leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
1/4-cup matzo meal
¼ cup finely minced scallion
1 teaspoon gelatin (optional)
Put the stock, and water on a heavy, shallow pot. Add enough salt to season just enough to add a hint of saltiness; not too much.
Smash the lemongrass with the back of a knife to release aroma.
Put the lemongrass in the pot and boil moderately for 20 minutes to infuse the lemony flavor into it. Remove the lemongrass and discard.
Hold the water at a gentle sparkle of a simmer.
Put the salmon, onion and egg yolk into a food processor, Start out with pulsing a few times to break up the salmon and then let the machine run on high speed for one minute to make a smooth paste. Scrape down the side and run another 10 seconds or so. Remove to a bowl.
With a fork, gently froth the egg white and add to the salmon. Add the rest of the ingredients and fold together carefully.
Using two tablespoons, or your wet hands form football shaped Quenelles about the size of a chicken egg and gently slide them into the simmering water to poach. Do not boil.
After a few minutes the quenelles will begin to float. Poach them an additional 5-7 minutes, remove them with a slotted spoon to a pan or plastic container that will fit them all on one level.
If you are using the gelatin, add it to the stock now. Simply remove a ¼ cup of the cooking liquid to a small cup. Add the gelatin and stir well. Let stand a few minutes to bloom and then add this back to the broth, stirring thoroughly.)
Pour the poaching liquid over the quenelles to cover them half way. Refrigerate and the broth will gelatinize.
Served with wasabi mustard.
Notes on making quenelles: Keep a cup of very cold water on hand and dip the spoons into it after forming each quenelle. They will slide off better.
Also, gentle poaching with keep the fish from being grainy.
Wasabi Mustard Sauce
4 tbls fresh wasabi
2 tbls good French
1/4 kosher sour cream (We use Cabot)
Mix all together and store covered until ready to use.