Ingredients

  • 3 lbs pike
  • ½ French roll
  • pepper and salt
  • nutmeg
  • 1 parsley root
  • 1 celery root
  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 leek
  • 2 onions
  • 2–3 bay leaves
  • 20 allspice
  • ½–1 glass table wine
  • vinegar
  • ¼ glass olive oil or Finnish butter
  • ½ lemon
  • ½ glass raisins
  • ½ lb grated sitnik bread
  • 2–4 apples
  • about 2 pieces of sugar
  • cinnamon
  • 2–3 cloves

Method

Clean a pike and cut it into moderate-sized pieces. Wash and salt the pieces and set aside for an hour. Remove and reserve the fish skin, and prepare a forcemeat from the flesh. Mix the fish with ½ white French roll soaked in water and squeezed out, a little pepper, salt, and nutmeg. If desired, add a chopped onion that has been fried in olive oil. Fill the reserved pieces of skin with forcemeat,** arrange the pieces in a stewpan, and pour on 3–4 glasses of strong bouillon made from root vegetables and spices. Add 1 glass table wine and ½ wine glass vinegar, according to taste. Then add ¼ glass olive oil, ½ lemon, sliced, and ½ glass raisins. Boil, covered, over a high flame. When the fish has thoroughly cooked, transfer the pieces to another stewpan and set the pan over steam to keep warm while preparing the sauce. To prepare the sauce, mix together 1 glass of grated sitnik bread crumbs, 1 chopped carrot, 3–4 sour apples, a little fine cinnamon and cloves, 2–3 pieces of sugar, and some water. Cook the mixture until it turns into a thick kasha or porridge, rub it through a sieve, and dilute with the bouillon in which the fish was cooked. Reduce until the consistency of a sauce and pour over the fish arranged on a platter.

This fish may be garnished with slices of boiled fish forcemeat.

*The sitnik bread crumbs gave a grayish cast to the sauce. Sitnik bread was made from sieved wheat flour, but not necessarily white flour. It was more expensive and considered more stylish than the ordinary bread made from rye flour. See Chapter 27.

**Although Molokhovets does not identify this dish as Jewish, the practice of wrapping a fish forcemeat in a piece of reserved fish skin has long been associated with gefilte fish in European Jewish cuisine. (For more on this topic, see Toomre, “A Note on ‘Fish in the Jewish Style’ in Nineteenth-Century Russia” Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review, 36–37.)

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