Even for Jews who grew up eating it, gefilte fish can be an acquired taste. It's got a strong flavor, a lot of onion, and a mushy texture that turns a lot of people off. The floating balls stuffed in the jar are downright offensive to me, personally.
But. I have a half-Jewish/half-Christian family, and I wanted Easter brunch to represent both sides of my heritage. I also had the itch for a project (much like Faith and her cake decorating). I was watching Jewish cookbook author Joan Nathan on the Martha Stewart show, and she was making a gefilte fish loaf. In a bundt pan! No shaping individual patties, and therefore not nearly as much work (although not exactly traditional). It looked downright easy, and the finished product was fluffy, bright, and beautiful.
Then you simply grind the fish in a food processor, throw it in a standing mixer, and mix it with cooked onions, eggs, matzoh meal, carrots, water, and seasonings. It bakes for two hours in a water bath and flops out of the bundt pan so quickly and easily I almost dropped the whole platter on the floor. I wasn't ready for the thud.
The flavor is, indeed, that of gefilte fish. If you don't like the stuff, this isn't going to make you a convert. But it's got a much more mellow, less fishy taste than the jarred variety, and the texture is light and airy. It makes a ton (an entire bundt pan, obviously), so make sure you have a gefilte-loving crowd.
• Here's the recipe: Gefilte Fish Pâté, from Joan Nathan (via Martha Stewart)
(Images: Elizabeth Passarella)