Friday, April 16, 2010

Do Fish Have Balls?

Fish balls.

It's what's for dinner!

I don't know who came up with these babies, but we've had them since I was a kid, and I've never met anyone who didn't like them.

I stumbled into this recipe the other day. I knew immediately that I could not live without them, and raided the freezer to see what lurks in its depths for fish.

I found haddock. SCORE!

By the time it defrosted, I had a mutiny on my hands.
We haven't had these for a while, and it seems my crew was all about Fish Balls With Gravy (Tomato sauce).
No amount of threatening bribery would sway them.

So gravy (sauce) it was.

Fish Balls look exactly like meatballs. Sub ground fish for ground meat.
What's not to love?

My Margarita Machine (aka blender) came with this how-did-I-ever-live-without-it food processor attachment.

Cut your fish into chunks, and grind.

I used haddock this time. I've used cod and hake, and once a wolf fish (man, are they ugly!)


I tried salmon once. They never made it to the gravy. They were better suited as fish cakes, with different ingredients. White-fleshed fish works here. Darker, stronger fish wants to be the star of the show.

Everything looks disgusting ground up. Except chocolate.

Mix the ground fish with your favorite meatball ingredients. We do eggs, fresh parsley, grated cheese (the only time you'll see fish and cheese in the same dish in my house!), and a handful of breadcrumbs.

This was 2lbs of fish, 3 eggs, a handful of parsley, and about 1/3c of grated cheese.

Add small amounts of breadcrumbs; as with meatballs, too much makes them tough. I mix this with my hands, to judge. When it sticks together well, it's enough. I used close to 1 cup of breadcrumbs.

I seasoned these with pepper only. The reason? That grated cheese is pretty salty (I use fresh Romano). I find that I am better off adding it at the end when the balls are cooked, when I can taste them.

Form into these lovely perfect balls. Your hands were already dirty anyway.


I could have eaten that whole tray.

Well, maybe not in one sitting. Maybe, though.


Hmmm. Yes, probably.

Darn it, I really wanted to try that recipe! It is, after all, what inspired the craving to begin with. (Next time.)

But the mutiny will continue into school vacation week. I don't have the stamina to listen to whining for that amount of time.
And so into the gravy they went.

You add these to whatever tomato sauce recipe you prefer. I go from scratch, but only because I know no other way.


I had a lot going on, and actually baked these at 10pm. the gravy (sauce) I'd already made on the stove top, so I threw the whole mess into the crockpot and let it cook all night.

And I drooled onto my pillow all night.

I can't tell you how good it smelled.

I heard my son get up three times, and had to yell at him to NOT TOUCH THE CROCKPOT-IT"S HOT!

I would have had ten less fish balls in the morning if I hadn't heard him.

He ate five over the course of the day, including three for dinner.

This dish is really about the gravy (sauce). White-fleshed fish is mild to begin with, and once cooked in the gravy imparts just a hint of fish flavor. (Not to be confused with 'fishy'.) The texture of the fish balls mimics meatballs.

One of our favorite dishes, this is a nice break from the ubiquitous Friday Night Fish fry during lent, or baked Fish Sticks.

p.s. The Big Guy said Fish Do Not Have Balls.
So now you know.


  1. Tell the Big Guy, thanks I was wondering if they did ;) Those look delicious!

  2. Marissa, these look great - I love the recipe and can't wait to try it! Thanks for sharing. -Sally (moxonsawyer)