I decided this year to make my own gefilte fish. Here in Chinatown there are several fishmongers. Chinatown fishmongers still have a bad reputation because of what they used to be like. However, the combination of new York health inspectors doing their job, a clientele who suddenly cares about not being poisoned, and people realizing that you can partially tell the quality of a fishmonger just by the smell.
I made one foolish mistake. I assumed that they would have Whitefish. Looking back it would seem obvious- the chinese don't eat whitefish and neither do many other people.
I arrived at my preferred fishmonger early this morning, around 8:45 or so, just in time to see the fresh live fish being offloaded from the delivery truck, and fishmongers spreading and tamping down the ice for the day. No, they didn't have whitefish. No they didn't have cod. They probably had pike, but I don't like pike. Well, how about tilapia? The man pointed to the live tanks being refilled from the truck. Exxxxxllent. How much? $3.50 a pound? Sold. I got about twelve pounds of fish, had them filleted for me, kept the heads and bones and such for the stock. It ended up being about four and a half pounds of meat, which is just how much I wanted.
So, right now I have the stock pot boiling and I'm going to make some lovely, fresh stock.
Funniest part of it all? Seeing the fish dumped on the clean table and having the shit beaten out of them with a chair leg before being cut open. Maybe that sounds sick, but the fact that it was an honest to god chair leg is what cracks me up.