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Stephen's Fish Dumplings and Saffron Sauce

Chef Stephen Kalt, owner of New York City's Spartina restaurant, warns to take special care when preparing the sauce: Stir it constantly to assure that the eggs cook evenly; if chunks form, strain before serving.

  • Servings: 6
Stephen's Fish Dumplings and Saffron Sauce

Source: Martha Stewart Living Television, April 1998


  • 8 ounces red snapper, striped bass, or any other firm white fish, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced shallots, plus 1 shallot thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 4 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 6 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Using a meat grinder fitted with a fine blade, grind fish into a medium bowl. Add garlic, 2 teaspoons minced shallot, chopped marjoram, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 2 eggs. Mix well to combine. Add matzo and about 1/4 cup water alternately, a little at a time, until the mixture is soft, but not sticky.

  2. Dip your hands into cold water, and form the mixture into about twenty-four 1-inch balls; place on prepared baking sheet.

  3. In a medium saucepan, combine 6 cups water, the wine, saffron, sliced shallot, remaining 3 teaspoons salt, and bay leaf over high heat. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Quickly add dumplings, one at a time, to the cooking liquid. Cook until dumplings rise to the surface, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove dumplings from cooking liquid, and set aside. Strain cooking liquid, and reserve.

  4. Strain remaining 3 eggs through a fine sieve into a small bowl. Whisk in lemon juice, and season with salt. Transfer to a medium saucepan and place over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, being careful not to let the egg mixture curdle. Slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup cooking liquid from the dumplings. Cook until thick, continuing to stir, 7 to 8 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup cooking liquid and olive oil, stirring to combine. Add dumplings to sauce to coat. Serve fish dumplings with sauce and a sprig of marjoram.


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