The Gefilte Manifesto: Herbed gefilte fish terrine

Skip the Manischewitz this year and serve your guests Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern's herbed gefilte fish terrine. Its delicate, creamy texture just might win you some new converts.

Long before gefilte fish was jarred in its own jellied aspic and sold on supermarket shelves, it was a labor-intensive dish prepared at home in accordance with Ashkenazi tradition. Co-owners Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern of The Gefilteria in Brooklyn are reclaiming Old World customs with a collection of reimagined recipes in their recently published cookbook, “The Gefilte Manifesto.”

“At its most basic, gefilte is a cold fish appetizer served before Ashkenazi holiday and Sabbath meals, and is made by mixing freshwater fish with eggs, onions, and spices,” Yoskowitz says. “One of the things that drew us to gefilte fish was that it stood as a symbol of resourcefulness—how far a single fish could be stretched to feed an entire family. It had a practical aspect, too. On the Sabbath, Jews are prohibited from separating bones from flesh, so by finely grinding the fish, the proscription was circumvented. We love thinking of ways to restore gefilte to its rightful place on the table, especially for the Passover seder, when gefilte is often front and center. This recipe has a classic base, but we’ve added herbs to give it a taste of spring and a touch of color. There is also no matzo meal or bread crumbs in this recipe, giving it a lighter texture and removing any gluten … [Baking] the fish in a terrine is a quick and contemporary approach that will slice and plate beautifully. Liz and I both prefer the baked terrine.”