Tri-Colored Gefilte Loaf, Spanish Style

Tina Wasserman
Recipe by
Tina Wasserman

You can eliminate most of the tedious aspects of classic gefilte fish production by making loaves of gefilte fish mixture. The following recipe, which melds the flavors of a 500-year-old Spanish Jewish cuisine, was inspired by the time I recently spent in Spain with members of Barcelona’s Jewish community.

1 onion, cut into 4 pieces
1 garlic clove, cut in half
2 eggs
2 packages of 22 ounce frozen gefilte fish loaves, thawed
3⁄4 cup matzo meal
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
20 fine grindings of pepper
4 ounces of carrots (about 2 medium), sliced and cooked
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
10 ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed
1⁄4 cup pine nuts or whole almonds, toasted
1⁄4 cup dark or golden raisins
1 tomato, roasted and skin removed
1⁄2 large red bell pepper, roasted and skin removed
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Pimenton de la Vera (smoked) or sweet paprika
Vegetable spray or oil
  1.  Grease two 9" x 5" loaf pans with vegetable spray or vegetable oil. Fit an 8" x 12" sheet of parchment in each pan widthwise so that approximately 3 inches of paper hang over the long sides of the pan. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Place the onion and the garlic in a processor workbowl, pulsing on and off until fairly pureed. (Alternatively, grate the onion and garlic into a bowl.)
  3. Add the next five ingredients, pulsing about 5-10 times or stirring until the mixture is well combined.
  4. Either divide the mixture evenly into three bowls or measure out approximately 1 1⁄2 cups of mixture when you make each of the following layers.
  5. For the carrot layer, mash by hand or puree the carrots in a small processor workbowl. Add the dill and ginger and 1⁄3 of the gefilte fish mixture. Spread the ingredients evenly into the two prepared pans. Rinse out the workbowl and blade.
  6. For the spinach mixture, squeeze the chopped spinach until it is fully drained of liquid. Add the spinach, pine nuts or almonds, and raisins to the rinsed workbowl, pulsing about 15 times until finely chopped, or chopping by hand with a large chef’s knife. Add half of the remaining fish mixture, pulsing or stirring to combine. Spread the ingredients evenly into the two pans and rinse out the workbowl and blade if using.
  7. For the tomato/pepper layer, place the tomato and pepper in the processor workbowl and pulse until pureed. Alternatively, chop the peeled tomato and pepper until a smooth paste is formed. Add this and the rest of the seasonings to the remaining fish mixture, stirring well to combine. Spread the ingredients evenly into the two pans.
  8. Cover each pan loosely with foil, its shiny side facing up. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for about another 20 minutes, or until the loaf feels firm.
  9. Cool the loaves at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before removing them from the pans. Wait until the loaves are fully cooled before covering them with plastic wrap (otherwise they will sweat and get sticky).
  10. Chill in the refrigerator until needed. Cut into slices or wedges and serve.
Additional Notes
  •  For any recipe using a mixture of spinach and other ingredients, save yourself the work of deveining, chopping, and then cooking fresh spinach by substituting frozen chopped spinach. A 10-ounce package of frozen equals 1 pound of fresh spinach. However, make sure that you’ve squeezed the defrosted spinach in multiple handfuls until it is very dry.
  • For an added Spanish touch to your fish loaf, or any recipe for that matter, create a simple tomato salsa with freshly diced tomatoes plus a teaspoon or more of horseradish—and enjoy the kick.