7 to 7 1/2 pounds whole carp, whitefish, and pike, filleted and ground*
4 quarts cold water or to just cover
3 teaspoons salt or to taste
3 onions, peeled
4 medium carrots, peeled
2 tablespoons sugar or to taste
1 small parsnip, chopped (optional)
3 to 4 large eggs
Freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup cold water (approximately)
1/3 cup matzah meal (approximately)
*Ask your fishmonger to grind the fish. Ask him to reserve the tails, fins, heads, and bones. Be sure he gives you the bones and trimmings. The more whitefish you add, the softer your gefilte fish will be.
Place the reserved bones, skin, and fish heads in a wide, very large saucepan with a cover. Add the water and 2 teaspoons of the salt and bring to a boil. Remove the foam that accumulates.
Slice 1 onion in rounds and add along with 3 of the carrots. Add the sugar and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes while the fish mixture is being prepared.
Place the ground fish in a bowl. In a food processor, finely chop the remaining onions, the remaining carrot, and the parsnip; or mince them by hand. Add the chopped vegetables to the ground fish.
Add the eggs, one at a time, the remaining teaspoon of salt, pepper, and the cold water, and mix thoroughly. Stir-in enough matzah meal to make a light, soft mixture into oval shapes, about 3 inches long.
Remove from the saucepan the onions, skins, head, and bones and return the stock to a simmer. Gently place the fish patties in the simmering fish stock. Cover loosely and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Taste the liquid while the fish is cooking and add seasoning to taste. Shake the pot periodically so the fish patties won't stick. When gefilte fish is cooked, remove from the water and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon carefully remove the gefilte fish and arrange on a platter. Strain some of the stock over the fish, saving the rest in a bowl.
Slice the cooked carrots into rounds cut on a diagonal about 1/4 inch thick. Place a carrot round on top of each gefilte fish patty. Chill until ready to serve. Serve with a sprig of parsley and horseradish.