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Makes 1 loaf

Many people think it's daunting to make gefilte fish, recalling the daylong process that preoccupied their grandmothers, who had to skin and bone the fish themselves, grind it in a manual grinder, and chop the vegetables without the luxury of a food processor. All this before simmering the fish balls, which was guaranteed to make the house smell for a week. But baked in a loaf pan, it's actually quite simple and quick. Depending on the fish you use, the results may vary, but it's always delicious.

Canola oil (for the pan)
¼ cup canola oil
2 large onions, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
2 pounds ground fish (any combination of carp, whitefish, and pike)
3 eggs
2 carrots, grated
½ ripe tomato, coarsely chopped (optional)
4 tablespoons matzo meal
1 teaspoon sugar
teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¾ cup water

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Oil an 8½-by-4½-by-2½-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit it exactly. Oil the paper.

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2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes, or until translucent.

3. Transfer onions to a large bowl and add the fish, eggs, carrots, tomato (if using), matzo meal, sugar, salt, pepper, and water. Gently fold together. In a food processor, working in batches as necessary, pulse the mixture until it is slightly chunky.

4. Spoon the mixture into the pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top is golden. Let cool for 15 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a plate. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, cut into slices for serving.

Adapted from Debbie Israel


Linda Matchan can be reached at linda.matchan@globe.com.