From Gefiltefest: Cod Falafel with Harissa Mayonnaise

While the UK was absorbing the shock of the Brexit vote, a much happier and less controversial celebration was taking place in London’s Jewish Community Center, JW3: the seventh annual Gefiltefest, the largest Jewish food festival in Europe. 

On June 26, hundreds flocked to taste food samples, attend workshops, and watch competitive cook-offs between celebrity chefs at this hot-ticket event for foodies, restauranteurs, and cook book authors from around the world. One of the recipes that caught my eye was a fish falafel — a version of which I’d just sampled at London’s Palomar restaurant. At Palomar, the crispy, delicious mix of chick peas and cod was served in a spicy mango sauce and tahina (pictured on homepage slideshow). 

This version, by British chef Emma Spitzer, is fragrantly spiced and accented with samphire, a marsh-based vegetable that resembles baby asparagus. Don’t worry if you can’t find samphire — substitute it with a green accent vegetable (such as baby asparagus!) of your choice, or omit. 

~ Danielle Crittenden Frum

By Emma Spitzer

Serves approx. 4 as an appetizer.

For the falafel:

1/2-pound (200gr) loin of cod
1 cup (200gr) canned chickpeas
Fresh coriander
Fresh dill
Fresh Italian parsley
1 onion chopped into quarters
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sumac
2 cloves garlic
3 1/2 tbs (50) gr sesame seeds 
1 egg
3 tbs (40gr) panko breadcrumbs
Sunflower or veg oil for deep frying
Salt and pepper
1 cup (200gr) Samphire (optional)

For the Harissa Mayonnaise: 

1 red pepper
2 red chillis
Ground coriander
Cumin seeds
Caraway seeds
2 cloves garlic
1 lemon
Olive oil
1 red onion
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 cup Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise (or good quality mayonnaise)
Watercress just to decorate plate
Heat the oil to 150 degrees in a deep fat fryer or saucepan. Put a saucepan of water on for the samphire.

Drain the chickpeas and rinse through to get rid of the starchy water. Pat dry and add into the food processor. Cut the cod into chunks and add to the chickpeas along with the onion, garlic and herbs. Pulse in short bursts so as not to ruin the delicate nature of the fish. Add the sumac, cumin, salt and pepper and sesame seeds and stir through. Pop the mixture into the fridge for 30 minutes.

Wet hands and roll the mixture into walnut size balls. Whisk the egg and set out a plate with the breadcrumbs. Dip the falafel into the egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs.

Deep fry for about 5 to 6 minutes until nice and golden.

Rinse the samphire really well in cold water and blanch for one minute in boiling water. Drain and set aside.

Add a tablespoon of Harissa to two tablespoons of mayonnaise and mix well. Serve three falafel with the samphire and mayonnaise.


Emma Spitzer is a MasterChef 2015 finalist. Emma’s cooking style draws on her travels through the Middle East and her Mother in Law’s North African roots. Currently the Managing Director for luxury travel company; Tots Too, Emma offers private dining experiences as well as catering for larger events and a series of one off pop-ups. Photo by Zoe Paskett. Recipe shared with the permission of Gefiltefest.